Estevan Vega’s The Forsaken is a Dark, Twisted, and Thrilling Read

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The first victim has no natural wounds. No prints left behind. No lacerations. But the life has been gruesomely drained from the corpse, and a broken cross is now imprinted inside the skin.

Left for dead a year ago by his former partner, reckless and medicated Detective Jude Foster now endures mindless therapy sessions in order to be given another chance at his life. When the chief of police discovers the first victim strangely killed in this sadistic fashion, Jude enters a dark world all-too-familiar. He knows he’s seen this method of murder before, but he never caught the killer.

Could this be a copycat, or is it the one that got away?

Forced to take on a new partner for the case, Jude must come to terms with the fractured memories of his past, attempt to keep his younger brother safe, and chase down a ghost killer who is collecting human souls. But time is against him. How many more victims will there be before the killer is satisfied? And will Jude Foster be able to survive this new hell or in the chaos, will he risk becoming something else entirely?

(Synopsis from the back cover of The Forsaken)

Previously, I reviewed Vega’s novel Arson, and I absolutely loved the book. When I first picked up The Forsaken, I was curious if I was in for a similar type of story or something along the same lines. Boy, was I ever surprised as I started to get deeper into the book. This is in an absolutely different direction from what I am used to when it comes to Vega’s writing. The dark and depraved background of the majority of the characters, including our protagonist, give us a more realistic portrayal of humanity.

Even the good guys do bad things.

This book is gritty, dirty, twisted, and horrifying by turns. Vega creates a gritty, true crime type of story with a huge supernatural twist that adds to the mystery of the tale. The police procedures are well researched, and the departmental drama is well done (including one of the cops being such a bottom feeder, you can’t wait for him to die. You actually root for his death).  The one optimistic light in the story is Detective Foster’s new partner, Rachel. Even with her, there is a grim realization that dark things, dark times happen to us all.

The storyline is very intriguing. A serial killer who can kill his victims and not leave a single bit of evidence outside of a broken cross burnt into the inner layers of skin. No external markings exist at all. The victims are all dessicated corpses, even if they only died hours before. Detective Foster fights his own demons, internal and external, as he races to find the source of the killer’s power before another victim can be claimed. When his own brother comes under suspicion, the stakes are pushed even higher.

One thing that is different with Vega’s writing versus other authors is his ability to write from a variety of point of views. It is almost like watching a movie. The point of view changes so often. While this may be strange for some people, keep reading. The varying POV’s actually make the book feel more like real life than just a story.

I recommend this book to everyone who likes their crime drama dark, depraved, and twisted. This is an excellent book that will hold your interest (and make you hold your breath) until you’ve made it to the last page. I hope Vega writes more books in this line. His stories cover a wide gamut: horror, supernatural powers, crime drama, young adult, etc and I think we will all be surprised by what else he has in the pipeline.

 

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