I’ve always heard the saying you don’t judge a book by its cover and I can say that I haven’t picked out a book that way since I was a kid wandering around the adult fiction section for the first time at the local bookstore. Well that bookstore met it’s demise by the wrecking ball long ago. Since then, I’ve expanded my reading horizons in a more systematic way. First, it was through the recommendations of like-minded friends. In the last couple of years, it’s been through the recommendations of my like-minded Goodreads friends and Tim Lebbon was one of those recommended that I should check out. So, when looking through his work, I came across Berserk and it’s cover with the creepy girl with grayish-green skin and evil eyes peeking… No, leering out at you. What a great cover! I had to see what it was about. I’m pleased to tell you, the story behind that cover is just as creepy.
Lebbon introduces us to Tom, a husband who is still grieving with his wife over the loss of their only child, Steven, twenty years earlier. Steven had been in the army and was apparently killed in an accident at a military base. The details of which were kept secret by the government. Tom and his wife buried an empty casket. Steven’s body was supposedly never recovered. This has never set well with Tom. One night, he overhears two soldiers talking about that fateful accident in a local pub and learns that his his son was buried in a mass grave not far from there. If this sounds like an “uh oh” moment, you’re right. But the “uh oh” isn’t the fact that a distraught father took a shovel out to a deserted army base and broke in to do some digging. The “uh oh” is in what he dug up and the aftermath of it. Lebbon weaves a creepy and eerie (there are those two words again) tale dripping with atmosphere and good characterization. Although, watching what Tom does throughout the story is like witnessing a train wreck unfold and you can’t look away, you understand where he’s coming from. You feel his anguish and despair controlling his decisions. While I may have preferred a different ending, Berserk was a chillingly fun ride. A solid 4 stars.
4 out of 5 stars