Song of the Psychopath by Mark Tilbury #BookReview

 

A year after going missing from home, Tommy Scarlett is found unconscious in an isolated country road. He has a fractured skull, broken wrist, and numerous other injuries. Recovering in hospital, Tommy has no recollection of the past. He doesn’t even recognize his own family.
After returning home, Tommy suffers severe headaches and acute depression. Desperate to help him, his father puts him into the care of a private therapist. But Tommy soon learns his troubles are far from over.
As the past is slowly unlocked, it becomes increasingly clear that Tommy has suffered an ordeal so horrendous it beggars belief. And those responsible are determined to silence him by any means possible.
Can Tommy find out what really happened to him and bring those responsible to justice?
Or will the past finally catch up with him and finish him off for good? 

It's my pleasure to be sharing my review of Song of the Psychopath today.  Many thanks to Mark Tilbury for my advance digital copy of the novel.

I thought Mark Tilbury's previous book, A Prayer for the Broken was a dark read but Song of the Psychopath is perhaps even more disturbing. This wasn't a novel I was able to read quickly as I found I needed to take breaks from what is an intensely harrowing story. It isn't gratuitous however, with the abuse rarely actually taking place on the page.
When teenager Tommy finally turns up after being missing for a year, it's obvious that he has been through a horrendous ordeal and his physical injuries are soon overshadowed by the huge psychological damage he is suffering. I must admit to not finding Tommy an especially likeable character but I have to applaud Mark Tilbury for writing him this way. His angry, violent outbursts emphatically demonstrate just how fractured his mind has become as a result of the wicked abuse he has been subjected to. There is also a brief scene with a school friend which made me wonder what Tommy was like prior to this and although he was clearly much different, I suspect he was no angel at times. This is important because I suspect we all have a tendency to feel more empathetic towards younger, sweeter children rather than surly, irritating teenagers. However, as is so painfully illustrated here, a victim is still a victim and nobody should ever suffer this way.
Some of the chapters follow his captor and it's perhaps these scenes that I found hardest to read. He is one of the most depraved characters I can ever remember reading and as he becomes increasingly deranged, there is nothing here to sympathise with. He is unremittingly evil. Such a heartbreaking book needs a little light for contrast and it comes in the form of Tommy's sister, Danielle. She is patient and understanding but she isn't some unbelievable paragon of virtue and is tormented by what she said prior to Tommy's disappearance. I loved the relationship that slowly develops between the pair of them which suggests little flickers of hope for Tommy's future.
As it becomes evident what lengths those responsible for his torture are prepared to go to in order to inflict their own terrible form of justice and to keep him quiet, the sense of foreboding becomes almost unbearable. Although this is a perceptive exploration of what damage can be done to a mind, it is also a gripping thriller with some genuinely shocking moments; the latter chapters in particular really had my pulse racing. Song of the Psychopath explores a nightmare-inducing scenario with honesty and sensitivity and is a compelling, heartbreaking, dramatic read from start to finish. 

Song of the Psychopath is self-published and can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

About the Author
Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. He's always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven novels published by Bloodhound Books. Now self-publishing, Mark has published The Last One To See Her, A Prayer For The Broken and his most recent novel, Song of the Psychopath. When he's not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.

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