Book review: True horrors from 'Death Sentence'

By James Foy

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 17 2011 4:00 p.m. MDT

Alexander Gordon Smith, author of "Death Sentence," is coming to Salt Lake City on Sept. 21 for a book signing.

Jennifer Oey Norwich Heart

"DEATH SENTENCE," by Alexander Gordon Smith, Square Fish Press, $15.99, 261 pages (f)

“Death Sentence," the third book of the “Escape From Furnace” series, by Alexander Gordon Smith is a horror story which becomes more horrible as the main character, Alex Sawyer, is transformed into a military machine monster who guards the prison he had been fighting against in the last two books.

Written in first-person as a journal narration, readers learn the horrors of the prison warden and doctor conducting secret experiments on prisoners, injecting a serum into their veins to create a super soldier used to guard the prison.

As the story unfolds, Alex’s world is depressing and hopeless. He is constantly trying to remember who he is, as the serum injected in his veins causes amnesia. With no memory of their past life, these fighting prison guards can be monsters to those in prison without guilt.

This nightmarish story is certainly not for young readers and most likely not for most adults, who would not appreciate gritty, evil characters and a feeling of hopelessness. This anguished feeling carries throughout the whole book until the very end which leaves the story open for the next installment to be published sometime in the spring of 2012.

Originally from England, Smith has published fiction before, but this is the first series published in the United States. Smith uses his own memories from growing up as part of the character of Alex Sawyer.

Although Smith encourages his readers to remember his characters as though they were old friends, he wishes the horror in the story he writes to leave the readers “peering under the bed” as a scared child.

Readers who love to be scared would enjoy this book. The characters are well developed as the book is fast-paced and well written.

“Escape From the Furnace” is a rarity of horror for the reader who can withstand a sad story without getting depressed.

IF YOU GO ...

What: Andrew Gordon Smith book signing

When: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

James Foy graduated from International College of Ft Myers, Fla., with a business management degree.

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