Spinner by Michael J. Bowler follows misfit Alex, a teen in a wheelchair with a special healing power that can spin pain or injuries out of people. Alex has always been an outcast, only finding solace in his special education family of friends. When various paranormal events begin to occur, and a string of murders is tied to Alex, Alex and his friends lose all sense of security. People want Alex's power and they will stop at nothing to capture him. In order to protect his friends from those pursuing him and his power, Alex must investigate the various suspicious activities that all seem to be tied together in this paranormal horror adventure.
This novel certainly does not fail to provide its reader with an overdose of gruesomely described violence and truly unnerving instances that hold the power to be made scarier depending on each reader's imagination. This book was rated for ages 12 and up, but I personally feel that, judging from the subject matter, the instances of gore, and the language and conversations between characters in this book, it would give a fairer warning to those approaching it if this book was rated for mature readers.
Although I cannot say that I necessarily enjoyed the scenes of gore and violence, I admire the author's bluntness in creating a world where the reader does not sense a safety net around the main characters, preventing them from permanent peril. Much like the new film Kingsman: The Secret Service, this book doesn't hold back when creating shocking imagery and unbelievably intense scenarios. While on the subject of the imagery, I feel that many scenes in this book have a uniquely cinematic vibe, opening up a visual reading experience without there being any actual images in the book. Interestingly enough, in a Q&A with the author in the edition of Spinner that I read from, Bowler states ¨I like to visualize scenes in my head before I ever write anything down...So when I do sit down to the keyboard, I describe scenes as I saw them in my head, almost like a movie.¨
Spinner by Michael J. Bowler has a truly absurd story-line, with various intertwining characters and segments that merge together into one mess of craziness. However, despite the absurdity of all the paranormal activity and horrific scenarios, this book is a well-written read with realistic and human characters. The selection of characters in Bowler's story come to life on the page. They drew me into the story as a reader and kept the story interesting.
I felt that there were some lulls in the story, usually in scenes of suspense that felt wrongly placed. These suspense scenes were usually in sections of unnecessary pages throughout the book where I wanted it to get to the point, and I became impatient the more it seemed to provide unnecessary descriptions or dialogues.
The gory paranormal horror genre that this book fits into is not one that I would usually delve into. When I began this book I did not know if I would enjoy it or not. On a whole, this was a genuinely entertaining and gripping novel with truly solid characters. I do not think that I will be re-reading Spinner, but I found it to be a worthwhile read.