'The Cult of Me' by Michael Brookes

I enjoyed reading a collection of four short stories by Michael Brookes entitled 'An Odd Quartet' particularly 'The Yellow Lady' which was a ghost story with an unusual twist. I liked the writing style in 'Forced Entry' which gave a fairly predictable story-line a strong sense of urgency and unease. 'The Reluctant Demon' was really good with a great twist at the end and some very funny contrasts between the young demon and its parent. I thought 'This Empty Place' was the least successful of the four stories and it didn't really work for me. I don't usually read ghosts and demons but I liked the way Michael Brookes writes: clear, direct, slightly tongue-in-cheek and I was interested to see what else he could write so after checking out the sample I downloaded 'The Cult of Me'.
I haven't read anything like this novel for a very long time: a person who can get inside other people's heads and control their minds is much more fantastical than anything I usually read these days. What I found quite remarkable about the book was the way in which the author gets you to buy into this remarkable mind shifting ability of the main character. He introduces the idea very early on and does so in such a down-to-earth manner just as part of his scene-setting in the prison cell where the story starts that you don't quite realise what's happening. All the other details about the scene are very mundane and matter-of-fact and his introduction of this mind-travelling ability by the main character gets in under the radar. Once you've bought into this ability as a matter of reality you just go along with it for the rest of the book.
I'm not quite sure where to place this novel. It's certainly in the fantasy / paranormal zone because of the extraordinary abilities of the main character. It's also a thriller and you are kept on the edge of your seat in the later stages when the novel reaches its climax. In addition it contains elements of the philosophical and religious and it's a story with murders, crimes and a bit of social commentary. It's a really interesting mix of ideas and keeps you engaged from beginning to end.
The story-line has many original and creative twists and turns and you get some big surprises and changes of direction.
The writing style is economical with occasional flights of fantasy resulting in some almost poetic descriptions at times. The structure of the novel works well with a generous helping of flashbacks to bring you up to speed with the protagonist's situation at the start of the book.
I really enjoyed reading 'The Cult of Me'. The ending is a shocking cliff-hanger and I've downloaded the sequel 'Conversations in the Abyss' because I really want to know what happens next.
Sample and download 'An Odd Quartet' Amazon UK Amazon USA 
Sample and download 'The Cult of Me' Amazon UK Amazon USA 

Visit the author's Blog at http://www.thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk