Author: Cody Phillips
Publication Date: June 30th 2015
I received a copy for review from the publisher Austin Macauley Publishers for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Christopher McDaniel – just an ordinary twelve-year-old boy walking home after school. What happens next makes Cody Phillips’ Mindflower a very tough read, because with tendrils snaking throughout the upper echelons of American society a dark secret perpetuates a repeated and heinous crime.
For Paula McDaniel, that day alters her life irrevocably, threatening to drag her towards a dramatic and harrowing conclusion.
Like Hubert Selby Jr’s The Room, Mindflower can, at times, make the reader want to look away, but that would be to turn a blind eye to what is, perhaps, the worst possible crime: the absolute corruption of the innocent. Mindflower, with its occult underbelly, is a powerful and oftentimes brutal read.
I had only a vague idea of what I was in for with this book. It ended up scaring the hell out of me as a mother but even though it’s brought tears to me eyes, made my stomach hurt and gave me a headache of epic proportions, I did not shy away from the graphic brutality described within as perpetrated against Christopher and the other kids, because unfortunately these things go happen and are happening whether to the same degree or minus some of the elements within Mindflower.
We follow Paula, a widow and single mother of one son, Christopher who had just turned twelve. They have a great life and she just decided to start granting him a bit more freedom, allowing him to walk home from school when one day, he doesn’t come home from school and every parent’s worst fear comes true for Paula. We watch her go from shock, to pain, to anger to depression and by the time she has finally learnt to deal with the pain somewhat, thirteen years have passed, in which the only thing she knows for certain is that Christopher was snatched off the streets. She doesn’t know if he’s alive or dead. So when a stranger shows up at her door, claiming to know what happened to Christopher, she listens. The story he relates is one that she can scarcely believe at first but she knows it true. It stretches like a spider’s web to include those who have the power to make sure her story never makes the light of day , the ones responsible for a child-trafficking ring who would do whatever they have to do to protect their reputations. The decisions she makes hereafter, will have dire consequences.
The author does a great job of forcing one to face the reality of what happens in these instances and it has chilled me to my very core. The mother’s emotional despair and believable and feels so real and I could totally empathise with her. The range of emotions evoked ranged from shock, to despair, to hope, to anger, to disbelief; you name it, I felt it.
The conclusion was inevitable yet heart-wrenching nonetheless. I wept for the mother who thought she could still save her son and the son who thought he could escape.
Confrontational, non-apologetic and brutally honest in its depiction of events, hopefully largely fictionalised, Mindflower takes us deep into the abuse of power and the total corruption of the innocent in every way, and a mother’s worst fears made reality. This book is guaranteed to be one of those I won’t forget.
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