The Only Child
By Andrew Pyper
This book is about an only child and her father, the monster who inspired Frakenstein, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Dracula.
The Only Child is one of the best books of its kind I have read this year and probably for several years.
This book is about the man who monster who inspired Frakenstein, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Dracula, and his only child.
Dr Lily Dominick is a forensic psychiatrist at Kirkby institute in New York.
She has a gift for the job. One that goes beyond her exceptional performances on exams and the workaholism that was mistaken for ambition but was in fact the comfort she felt walking the asylum’s halls.
At the age of six Lily was woken by a monster knocking on her door. She has really clear memories of this but because she is a psychiatrist she knows these memories are inaccurate. According to official reports her mother died from being attacked by a bear. Lilly knows it isn’t a bear because they aren’t able to knock on the door.
Lily is thinking about these things when she finds out she has a new client. Lily normally prides herself in being able to know what a client is thinking and why they are acting the way they are. Something about this new client unsettles her and throws her off during the initial interview.
During the interview, he talks about ripping a stranger’s ears off with his bare hands and explains that he knew perfectly well what he was doing and the consequences of his actions.
‘So you did this because you want to be locked up in a forensic psychiatric facility’
‘Not at all, Doctor. I did this because I want to be with you.’
In a seriously creepy way the nameless client tells Lily facts about her life and tells her that he knew her mother. Lily thinks this is just part of his delusion as he looks the same age as her but then he starts saying that he knows her mother and that she was called Alison. At the end of the interview he tells Lily that he is her father.
Unusually, Lily was unable to stop thinking about her new client, even when she is on a date with someone. Later that night she is called to her bosses office and arrives just in time to see the nameless client drinking his blood having escaped from the asylum.
He hypnotises Lily to sleep and she wakes up there is a letter to her explaining bits about his past. The letter intrigues Lilly enough for her to begin to retrace his steps across Europe in a bit to learn more. She learns that he was the inspiration behind several major gothic tales although he feels that in each he was misrepresented.
“I am not a myth. Not a story, fairy tale, or legend. I am not a human being, though I am almost always mistaken for one, and am composed of human parts, among other things, some I understand and others that remain uncanny, even to me.”
During her travels Lily has warnings to avoid the man who calls himself Michael. She also has some men trying to kill her, but despite both these things she feels herself drawn to him and the answers to her past.
I found this tale so engaging that I read it in one day and was disappointed when I realised I was at the end. I will definitely have a ‘book hangover’ from this book and will be seeking out more of this author’s work.
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