Clippings From a Psychological Thriller

My high school used to sell books outside the library for $0.25-$1, and I have two stacks of them that come up at least to my knees. I was recently looking for something to read and started looking through those books. Much to my surprise, I found a few exceedingly rare printings of books, such as one from an unproofed sample run, a special signed hardcover from a limited run (500 copies) with a slipcase, and a special signed hardcover from a run of 1000. The last one is the one that I chose to read, and it was well worth it.

The book in question is Scissors, by Ray Garton. It’s a horror/psychological thriller about a man whose childhood doctor comes back to haunt him and his son. The plot may sound a bit derivative but it’s actually a very fresh and original take on an old theme. More important is the writing, which is fantastic. Though written in a third-person perspective, it feels very close and intense, almost more so than much of the first-person fiction I’ve read. It’s fantastically engrossing, much more so than the one I’m currently reading (and will review… eventually… if I ever finish it…), and though there are a few plot points that felt weak or even just tacked on, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

My biggest issue, I suppose, is that in the end, things don’t totally feel resolved. We’re left with a sort of cliffhanger, which is fine, even if it was a bit predictable. But the biggest parts of the plot are never really explained. At all. We’re left to sort of make our own inferences, and there’s not a lot of detail to make them from. I would have liked a more concrete explanation. The issue of reality was solved, but the question of how the things that happened are possible was not solved, and while I enjoyed the book, that simple fact left me feeling unfulfilled and somewhat dissatisfied.

I suppose in the long run, if you like horror and/or psychological thrillers, Scissors is worth a look. I suppose that I should give Garton another chance with another book. His writing is masterful and quite a joy to read. Hopefully his other books have more satisfying conclusions.

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