I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by JournalStone on February 28, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Horror
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It's only as haunted as you are.
After two raids turn up zero evidence, narcotics detective Dwayne Spare infiltrates a crumbling apartment building where a suspected manufacturer of krokodil is hiding--but finds something much worse. The chemist Gerald Metzger isn't after money; he's lulling his most 'dedicated' customers into catatonia, to make contact with an eldritch being.
When Dwayne's cover is blown, he becomes Metzger's new test subject, an involuntary pilgrim into a world where "it's all just in your head" is far from a reassuring statement.
Switchboard is one of those novels that leave you asking a predominate question – What the fuck did I just read? This is in no way a negative emotion. I was immersed into the seedy underbelly of the plot in which time had no relevance, so, I didn’t have an opportunity to fully process the implications and the impact the themes brought about within me. Within the box that Andrew Post created was essentially a haunted house story but with a visceral edge that completely unseated you and crafted so superbly that you felt as though your brain had developed an unreachable itch.
Police Lieutenant Dwayne Spare has obsessed his entire career about catching notorious cook/chemist, Gerald Metzger. His focus is entirely singular and all previous attempts at catching him have failed but now, he has the opportunity to go undercover and finally nail him with every charge he can muster. The place – Dunsany Arms apartments. The suspicion – the manufacture of the street drug – Krokodil ( I did my own research, having never heard of the drug before and boy did I get my eyes opened. Never has another drug terrified me as much. Rotting limbs and appendages sent a chill through me).
At this point the narrative in Switchboard seems straight forward, right? Buckle up soldiers. Dwayne is found out and pumped full of Krokodil, a test subject if you will. The victims are used to turn them into a telephone line that can connect to a despicable otherworldly creature. The experience of reading Switchboard was ethereal. The author has managed to confuse time, reality and dreams into a hazy glow. The reader can try as they might to see through the fog it just becomes thicker and it will suffocate you before allowing its secrets to be revealed.
Dwayne is not the only helpless victim that seems to be captive to this fate. We are also introduced to paraplegic surgeon, Connie and body mutilated Jack, the drugs runner. Their struggle was also futile and have given up in their struggle, the power exerted over them limitless. The characters emitted a sense of desperation and although I wanted character arcs that would come full circle and see them getting a happy ever after, this isn’t going to happen and if you think it is then, well, you haven’t been paying attention.
Post has created such a deliciously dark tale that brings the horror of human existence and how one can fall far. Some scenes are absolutely repulsive, but he does emit small amounts of light into the story that give you the smallest amount of hope that things might turn out alright. It might seem as though things take inordinate amount of time to make sense but please stick with it. The mechanics of the story connect with such intelligent execution that you have an extreme sense of satisfaction at having stuck and stayed faithful to the story.
Switchboard is larger than life. A story that examines the human condition and the lengths it will go to when lost within its own psyche. Andrew Posts characters, whether they be relatable or pure evil are completely believable.
Thanks to Anne Cater @ Random Things Book Tours for my spot on the blog tour.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Post was born in Erie, Pennsylvania (imagine Eraserhead but in color). While he was honing his craft as a writer (those early stories were awful) he worked in a gift shop in one of the scuzziest hotels in the Midwest, he cleaned rental cars (also gross), he was a butcher (despite being a vegetarian), and in 2013 his first novel, the cyberpunk thriller, Knuckleduster, was published. No one really seemed to care much but he kept at it and has since published a handful of other works to varying degrees of resulting public interest with a few seeing translations and one almost became a movie (that lit agent has since been fired).
Andrew lives in a sleepy river town in Minnesota where he may or may not be planning aquatic “accidents” to befall the many other authors who live in the area and he has been mistaken for Rob Zombie on no less than ten separate occasions.