Gardens of Night by Greg F. Gifune (9780983045717): Uninvited Books (2010)
Still recovering traumatic incident of seemingly random violence, Marc Banyon, along with his wife and best friend, travel to a secluded cabin in the New England woods to relax and forget their troubles for a time. But while there, Marc experiences violent and perverse visions of three women who hold his destiny in their hands and call to him to complete the cycle that he began in his home on that fateful day. What is real and unreal, vision and reality, merge and become one as Marc explores what violence and sacrifice truly reveal about the human condition.
Gardens of Night is a masterclass on building slow suspense in a novel. Each scene, each chapter, builds on the previous until the explosive and heart-wrenching climax in which the nature of Marc’s trauma is revealed–as well as his reaction to it. Gifune masterfully layers the novel with visions, flashes of memory, and switchbacks of perception that keep the reader guessing as to what is real and what is illusion. In a lesser work, this would be frustrating but the author keeps a tight rein on his prose, delivering a highly evocative yet literately daring and accessible story.
Gardens of Night is a journey of deep psychological horror and timeless evil. Gifune masterfully wields his prose, bending reality and perception to his will, and takes the reader on a deeply disturbing ride into the catacombs of the mind.