I was lucky enough to snag an early review copy of Brian James Freeman’s The Painted Darkness through LibraryThing. I’ve never read anything by Mr. Freeman, but I had heard a buzz about this book and looked forward to digging into it.
The book is not intimidating, the advance review copy weighing in at a mere 173 pages. And Freeman’s writing is very smooth and the story immediately intrigued me. I’m a fairly slow reader, but I made quick work of this enjoyable tale.
Henry is an artist. He paints, not for enjoyment, but more from compulsion. He has had an active and vivid imagination from early childhood. However, Henry’s painting has become a problem in his marriage. But even during this turmoil, Henry must paint. Problem is, right at this moment, he can’t. But eventually, Henry must paint against the darkness.
Throughout the book, Freeman alternates between the present time and the time when the Henry the artist was “born.” I’m usually not a fan of this approach to storytelling, but Freeman makes it work. By the time I finished the book, I had the distinct impression that I had just read a Stephen King work. And I mean that as a compliment to Mr. Freeman.
I’d recommend this atmospheric novel for a good, quick read. Mr. Freeman definitely has a knack for telling an interesting story. He doesn’t get bogged down in unneeded information or mundane details. This is a creepy story that will keep you turning the page to find out what happens.
4 out of 5 stars.