Title: One Eye Open
Author: Alex Grecian
Illustrator: Andrea Mutti
Publisher: TKO Studios
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
One Eye Open by Alex Grecian reminded me of The Monkey’s Paw by WW Jacobs. Their basic ideas were pretty similar.
Charlotte Jessen dies under mysterious circumstances, killed perhaps by her husband of 42 years, Tor. Her daughter, Laura Roux, returns to her childhood home with her teenage daughter, Juniper, two days after her mother’s funeral. The mother and daughter are recovering from a tragedy. Laura’s husband, Jacob, was killed in a tragic accident while attempting to teach Juniper how to drive.
They are here for good, although Juniper doesn’t know it initially. Laura hopes this will be their new beginning.
But Juniper is not happy with having to move to this small village in Denmark, away from her life in the US. To make things worse, she finds the townsfolk rather odd, every one of them behaving suspiciously.
Then Juniper comes to know of a horrible tradition that has prevailed over centuries. One that arose out of the need to ensure that there are enough hands to reap the harvest that the endless wheat fields in the village are blessed with.
But that’s the thing about tradition. It has to be repeated.
The book is written in the third person limited PoV of Laura, Juniper and Kaspar.
This was my first attempt at reading horror. It was disturbing but so well written that I just kept on reading. Who would have thought something as innocuous as wheat fields could induce a feeling of discomfort and horror? But the author has done it.
He has created the image of an insular community, holding dangerous secrets that have the power to turn against the community.
Most prologues are completely unnecessary, but here, the Prologue hitches us in, creating the right mix of intrigue and dread. Very quickly, we realise that something is terribly wrong.
Nine of the chapters began with beautiful watercolour illustrations that set its characters deeper in our minds. Of course, to be honest, I didn’t need the illustrations. My own imagination was doing a pretty good job of throwing up images to upset me. Having said that, I must say the illustrations were superb and added to the impact created by the book.
The writing was good, and the issues that it discussed, death, grief and loss are such as to resonate with all of us, particularly when the loss has been a sudden one. The accident which caused the death of Jacob was painful to read. We can relate to the pain of the mother and daughter.
Just one mistake, in Chapter 9, Kaspar turned into Konrad.
I couldn’t quite understand the title, One Eye Open. Perhaps it refers to the warning, Sleep with one eye open.