Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Syndrome E - The Novel

Syndrome E
-It's been a hit in France, it's being made into a movie, and is being called 'Seven' meets 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.'  I got a chance to review this book which has recently been translated to English and released exactly a week ago.


A vintage movie connoisseur answers an ad and buys some rare movies, and after watching the clip, goes blind. Thus begins Syndrome E, and the novel explodes from this point, tracing the effects on a single persons Eyes to other areas of the world. Subliminal messages of horror are slowly revealed in the clip, and strange deaths where the eyes have been removed, the skulls sawed open, and the bodies buried to hide decomposition are connected to the movie clip.

Yes, larger world implications begin and end through the complexities of one's eyes.

Syndrome E is a smart horror story, yet can also be considered a piece of dark, literary crime fiction.  
While the easy comparison is to the horror movie, 'The Ring', I hardly think this gives the story justice as the novel is much more complex.  Two detectives investigating are battling with their own personal instabilities, a backdrop of science and the nature of the human mind guides the novel, and some accurate historical fiction is sprinkled in.

Yes, the story of CIA 'MK-Ultra experiments' referenced in the novel is based on historical fact, as is the reference to a horror movie made so real that the director was called in to testify to prove nobody was actually murdered during the shooting of his impalement scenes. Google 'MK-Ultra' and then `Cannibal Holocaust'

The novels greatness is in its exploration inward into the human mind, and its larger implications to the world at large.  The origins of mass killings and genocides derive from the sensory impact images have upon our eyes and our brains, yet it is told through the inner world of two individuals who have a personal stake in the outcome.

The ending of the novel - meaning when the 'suspect' is apprehended -  was a bit unsatisfying but interesting in the mea culpa explanations, but this was made up for in the final paragraph. An unresolved question dangles before your eyes, and the last sentence has continued to play on in my head, long after the credits roll and the kindle is closed.

Let's hope the movie does this incredible novel justice.



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