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While the Savage Sleeps is the first of the Andrew E. Kaufman books. I’ve read it after his two novels in the Patrick Bannister series called The Lion, The Lamb, The Hunted and Darkness Shadows, thinking that it is in about the same veins as the books in the series, but boy I was mistaken.
While the Patrick Bannister novels are psychological mysteries, the author’s first book is a serious paranormal mystery/thriller and now that I’ve read all three, I can easily choose my favorite: While the Savage Sleeps.
I love thrillers with a paranormal slant, and this book really had it all. Some people even likened it to the great movie Ghost with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Personally I only found a bit of that aspect towards the end of the novel, but I can see why anyone would make the connection between the two.
Faith is a small town in New Mexico and currently it is plagued by a series of murders, which is very unusual for such a sleepy and slow moving community. Sheriff Cameron Dawson is at his wits end, trying to find who the killer is (or are). The murders are as grizzly as they come, and while initially some teens are suspected of being the killers, in his mind it just doesn’t fit. It needs a more wicked mind to carry out all that than some experimenting kids.
Not only that, but the kids are as upstanding as they come. All with good grades, no previous troubles, with no mind for crime anytime before. And one of those kids is not even a teenager yet. Still everything points to them as the masterminds of these heinous crimes.
As the story unfolds and new crimes are commuted, there are new suspects for these crimes, adults this time, with no rhyme or reason,with no visible connection between any of the suspects besides the visible ones that they all live in the same community.
At the same time Kyle, a doctor at an Albuquerque hospital some few hundred miles away, sees horrible scenes, dreams and premonitions that frighten her and push her to action: to visit Faith and see what exactly is going on – and possibly offer her services in solving the crimes. The problem though the fact that she is a psychic, she’s been all her life, and while she has come to terms with her gift, others might not take her seriously, especially the police force.
Kyle is sure that everything has to do with something related to World War II, but how can that be and what is the small town’s connection to events so far in the past?
From here starts a tale that is frightening, suspenseful and even shocking at times. I’ve read the book within the day hardly stopping to eat food. I really felt the way I use to when reading and enjoying Stephen King’s earlier books. If anyone made a sound in the house, I would jump and look around frightened. It is that kind of book.
Once I finished this novel, I tried to reconcile it to the other two books Andrew Kaufman has written, but I couldn’t. They are completely different in writing style, in genre and in suspense level. Yet all three are very good, don’t get me wrong. But still if I had to choose, While The Savage Sleeps clearly wins in my eyes.
I only wish the author wrote more paranormal mysteries with maybe a sequel to While the Savage Sleeps. I’d be one of the first to buy it!
I’ve read many thousands of books over the years, but this is one that will stay for a long time with me.