“DEAD RINGERS” (Book Review)Book and Comic Reviews,Books/Art/Culture,News Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Out on paperback from St. Martin’s Press on Tuesday is DEAD RINGERS by Christopher Golden. It’s about a series of doppelgangers who suddenly begin showing up in Boston and the surrounding area. They’re up to no good, of course, because otherwise they’d be no story…and what a story it is.
I loved this book. It’s one of my fastest-read novels of the year, and maybe ever. It arrived on my doorstep as I was between books, so I picked it up. I also developed some insomnia, and DEAD RINGERS became a great way to pass the twilight hours. But enough about me.
DEAD RINGERS starts with an encounter between Tess and who she thinks is her ex-husband Nick on a street corner in Boston. However, this man is fitter, dressed better, and is clearly more successful than Nick. Everything else about this man looks the same, but his demeanor is off. Soon enough, Tess finds out that Nick is in New Hampshire on a getaway with his new girlfriend Kyrie. Tess meets up with her old friend Lilli to discuss the day’s strangeness — and they soon discover that Lilli also has a double. Not too far north, journalist Frank Lindbergh is attacked at home by a man wearing his face. More doubles come into the picture, and they’re not very friendly. In fact, they seem intent on taking over the lives of who they resemble. And then there’s the weird “raggedy man,” a terrifying, putrid being following everyone around with malicious intent.
The premise begins as very INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, which is a classic theme of stolen identity, but DEAD RINGERS goes beyond that. It’s not easy to be surprised by a plot these days, but this book will outwit whatever you think is going to happen. It’s macabre, creepy, and full of twists, action, and dread. I couldn’t put it down. If there were ever a page-turner for the modern horror reader, Christopher Golden’s DEAD RINGERS is it.
Not only is the story filled with an “ensemble cast,” but these characters are richly developed. Each has his or her own inner world, with hopes, frustrations, desires, and dreams. Sometimes, they have terrible physical or psychological traumas that they try to overcome daily. This is a huge part of what makes Golden such a fantastic author — you feel like his characters have lived full lives full of disappointments and complications.
I discovered this author only recently, and I’m happy I did, because I would have missed out on some great storytelling otherwise. DEAD RINGERS is on par with anything in Stephen King’s catalog, and if you haven’t read Christopher Golden, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I truly look forward to devouring more of his work. You can read an excerpt on Golden’s site here or purchase it from Amazon here.