Psychopaths and Sinners by Jack L Pyke
I have to start by saying, Jack L Pyke is one of my favourite authors and the Don’t series is one I have read time and time again. I was really excited when I heard we were getting more from this series, the last book left us with so many questions that needed answers and begging for more. When I started reading this I didn’t know what to expect, but I was desperate for answers, and I should’ve known that they wouldn’t be handed to me on a plate. I’d have to work for them, and one thing you do reading this book is work! Your heart aches and races, your mind struggles to make sense and keep up with the events that unfold as you scramble to try and put the pieces of the puzzle together before the answers are revealed, that is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
We are pulled deeper into the dark world of Raif who we met in the novella ‘Ash’ which bridges the previous books and this one perfectly. Raif is a mystery and in some ways reminds of me of Gray, but in others they are as different as night and day Also, we find out more about Ash and Chase, and their friend Johnny. It’s fantastic to bring some new characters into an existing series and also an extremely brave and difficult thing to do, but Jack does this perfectly.
The book balances the old and the new characters perfectly, allowing us to see inside both their worlds as they remain independent, while also encroaching on each others. That brings me to the huge elephant in the room, or more accurately, in a seclusion room inside Gray’s manor, Martin. I know I shouldn’t, but I do love that character! Yes, he’s denying us Jack, but at the same time he gives us an insight into the mind of someone who is such an intriguing and complex character. He’s clearly someone who needs taming but can you really tame a wild animal?, When parts of what Jack experienced at the hands of Vince and his mind games is bleeding into his psyche and affecting his normally unshakeable outlook on life, where everything is black and white, Martin needs Gray and Jan every bit as much as they need Jack.
We get to see the inside of Gray’s manor and get an intriguing insight into his professional life and also that of him as a lover to Jan, the man who grieves deeply for the loss of their shared loved, and so badly needs Gray to be there for him following the fallout from Backlash, but what does Gray need? Burying himself in work, hiding himself away isn’t just hurting him and Jan, it’s also feeding Martin, who is enjoying this situation immensely. Martin seems to absorb emotions like a sponge, knowing how to play those who love and care for Jack while not relinquishing his vice like grip over Jack’s persona and his freedom. However, we do get the faintest glimpses of Jack, there are moments that he breaks the surface like a drowning man gasping for air, and those gave me as a reader, and probably Jan and Gray one thing we needed, a glimmer of hope no matter how brief it was.
Back in the West Midlands, in the world of Ash we get to see how badly the events at the end of Ash affected him and Chase, how the introduction of a new player nicknamed ‘Holly Blue’ on the board brings the two worlds together. Someone is the pulling strings of the players, moving them around a board like chess pieces, but who? There is so much at stake here, lives are on the line as there is a psychopath on the loose and no-one seems to know who it is. Or do they?
Raif and Ash’s emerging relationship is put to the test as the unravelling events shake both their worlds, making them doubt not only each other but everyone around them. Who can they trust, if anyone? We also get a closer look at the relationship between Ash and his father, which one again is complicated to say the least.
These characters are so complex, each one could have their own book dedicated to them and we still wouldn’t know enough about them.
As always with Jack’s work, this book is extremely well written and meticulously researched, so many topics that authors wouldn’t normally cover are included between the pages, yet they blend seamlessly and beautifully and add different elements and angles to the words that unfold before your eyes. I was totally pulled in from the first page, and the book was absorbing and something that you needed to give your full focus to, due to the intricate nature of the storylines that are woven through the words. It also isn’t for the feint hearted, or those who haven’t already ventured into the world of ‘Don’t’, but those who have already encountered it will not be disappointed, and once again Jack leaves us with more questions than answers and also sitting right on the edge of our seats as we anxiously wait for the next instalment.