There’s something very wrong with eleven-year-old school bully Billy Jenkins, but nine-year-old classmate Donny Wakeland is the only one who can see it.When Donny’s third grade sweetheart Susan Rogers falls through the ice on the local pond and drowns, Donny is certain Billy (and the chilling thing peeking out through Billy’s eyes) is responsible. Motivated by vengeance, Donny engineers a sledding “accident” on Killer Hill that sends Billy to his death. No one believes the child is guilty of premeditated murder. No one but Donny…and Susan’s ghost.
Is DEATHMAKER a story of insanity or an archetypal struggle against evil? Author Ted Tillotson tells this reviewer, “The novel is a dark psychological thriller that spans twenty-six years of Donny’s troubled life. The story rides a thin line between showing Donny as a serial killer or a tormented avenger. The central message revolves around the notion that there can, indeed, be monsters in the closet and under the bed.”
And Tillotson is in no hurry to clear up the ambiguity. His skillfully unobtrusive prose enhances the book’s dark mood as he reveals and examines Donny’s self-doubts and his struggle to resist Susan’s spirit’s increasingly adamant demands as we follow this dark journey, where Good often doesn’t look any better than the Evil it seeks to vanquish.
But is that all there is? Decidedly not. Among other writers who have read this novel there is a wonderful diversity of interpretation. Is this a crime novel? An urban fantasy? A psychological thriller? Does this novel belong on the Religion shelves as a story of Good recognizing and confronting Evil and being redeemed by unconditional love? In this reviewer’s opinion, the answer is a resounding YES. DEATHMAKER speaks not just to the reader’s intellect, but to his soul. It’s a book whose story and characters haunt the reader long after the cover is closed.
Ted Tillotson’s DEATHMAKER is an example of the high quality product Publish On Demand publishers can offer when they choose their manuscripts carefully and treat them, and their authors, with the care and respect they deserve. Hats off to Omega Publishing— now G and J Publishing, of Palm Springs, California—for partnering with talented author Ted Tillotson to bring us this page-turner. DEATHMAKER is a taste of what the future of American literature ought to be.
Available at Amazon.com in Kindle and Trade Paperback versions
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editor's note: All reviews are the sole opinion of the author. They are not an endorsement by Page & Spine. -NKW