Title: Cold Calling
Author: Haydn Wilks
Publisher: Dead Bird Press
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Cold Calling is a novel is a gritty, dark and somewhat disturbing read. It takes a look at the darker side of humanity, pulling it kicking and screaming into the forefront of the page. Written in second person, it allows the reader no chance to escape and ensures that you are right at the heart of the action.
I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I’m not a squeamish person but when I saw how far the main character had fallen, I wasn’t sure if it would work. But it did and the writing style mixed with the gritty realism made sure this book really sunk its claws into you.
The book is about a man who is living a dull, uninspiring existence. His life follows a singular routine, with very little variation from it and he is wonder what the point of it all is. The novel starts with him in this state of mind and follows him as he gradually spirals down to the point where he takes a leap from which there is no return and starts to kill and eat people.
The book itself is fairly short and took me about two hours to read. This length fit the story perfectly. I think if it had been any longer, it would have felt a bit drawn out, but instead the descent of the main character into the darkest side of his psyche felt really well paced.
The main character in this book is a sociopathic entity who is incredibly unlikeable, but in a compelling manner. You end up wanting to see how much worse he can get, especially when he seems to be improving. However, I did find that, by the end of the novel, I still knew very little about him. I could see the actions, but not really the person who committed them.
The same was true for the other characters. There were names and repeated actions (for example, his housemate watching tv every time he comes home from work), but there did not feel like there was too much else too them. This ended up lessening the impact of one of the later scenes for me. While I can see why the novel has been written like this (we’re seeing through the eyes of a sociopath so there aren’t going to be many emotional connections) it did leave me feeling a little disconnected from the novel. This may work for some people, but I found that it lessened my enjoyment of the book.
Cold Calling is a gritty thriller which explores the darker side of humanity in a manner that holds no bars. There are echoes of American Psycho within the pages, but ultimately the style is true to the author. I do feel that there were places which could have been improved, however these were mostly down to personal preference. A word of warning though, if you are someone who is not a big fan of grisly reads, then this is probably not the book for you.