Advance Review: Tortured Life by Dan Watters and Neil Gibson

Tortured LifeTortured Life by Dan Watters

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I should have known from that completely unimaginative title how boring this was going to be. But the premise sounded so interesting and the cover was so cool…

The protagonist, whom I fondly call Gene (short for Generic Hero) because I can’t remember his unremarkable name, is an ordinary man with a not so ordinary ability. Our buddy Gene can see how people are going to die, but not in trippy visions or Morse code messages. He unfortunately has to see everything like Schrodinger’s cat : alive and dead at the same time.

I see what you did there, writers. That opening sequence with the cat. Thought I wouldn’t get the reference, did you? Or maybe you did?

Naturally this leads to some super-duper depression on Gene’s part and in movie montage style he loses his job, girlfriend, confidence and gains a waistline. Actually, the whole time while I was reading TL, I was thinking it was basically a film in graphic novel form.

Anyway, on Gene’s third suicide attempt (or second, I forget), he is interrupted by the ghost of Random Blonde Girl and from there everything goes downhill as Gene finds out why he is the way he is while trying to dodge a maniac grim reaper known as the…wait for it…Bloodyman.

The synopsis promises eldritch horror, some brave new worlds and what not, but honestly, I was kinda out of it most of the time. The plot is extremely predictable and the graphics are neither here nor there. I admit there was one moment where I went green and nearly threw my laptop across the room. What was it, you ask? I don’t really want to say, but it involves using a corpse like a puppet…where the strings are its tendons.

Yeah, no.

I did not enjoy the garbled explanation at the end either. There are things that mess with your mind, and then there are things that just shake it about like dice in a tin. The ending is exactly what you would expect it to be. So, all in all, it doesn’t live up to the cover and I don’t particularly recommend it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC!