The Boy In The Park by AJ Grayson
The Psychological Thriller that everyone is going to be talking about – once you’ve read it, it will haunt you for weeks!
Dylan goes to the same park every day. He starts to notice a young boy who comes down to the small boating lake and soon realises that all is not right with the child; he seems troubled and unhappy and when bruises start to appear on the boy’s arms, Dylan realises that he has to take action. As Dylan’s obsession with the boy takes hold, he embarks on dark, intense and powerful journey, where nothing is what it seems…
Wow, what a whopper! What an ending! I had recently finished two very emotive novels and was seeking something more gripping/psychological/darker! This novel was very unique, I got to 300 pages in, I had no idea what was going on! It’s one of those weird/bizarre novels that ‘reveals itself to you’!
But I mean this in a completely positive way!
The novel opens with loner and slightly oddball Dylan Aaronsen sitting on a park bench on his lunch break. Dylan sits here every day, his bench (in memory of Margaret Hoss) Margaret’s bench is his escape from his dull menial job. Dylan has routine life, one of insomnia, loneliness and being a tortured poet. Part of this routine is the young boy in the park that he notices every day!
A young boy, as seemingly lost as Dylan himself………….
The little boy wears worn and dirty overalls, with a dirty t-shirt underneath. He appears unkempt and sad looking. Dylan gathers he is around 4/5 years old. However, when he starts to appear featuring new injuries, daily. Dylan becomes concerned for his safety. Then one day the boy is gone! Dylan attempts to report this to the police but he has little to report, having never spoken to the child.
He begins his own investigations and what he uncovers is shocking………
There are intermittent chapters of a taped interview between forensic psychologist Pauline Lavrentis and a man named Joseph. Joseph makes repeated false claims of committing a murder. His memory is fragmented and his speech often appears confused and inconsistent. He continues to repeat that he has murdered his wife, suffocating her with a pillow over her face. But he has no wife and this is a mere delusion. But when Pauline points out there was no wife, no pillow but there was a boy. I began to realise this was a complex and mysterious novel.
“What you remember about the boy?”
Between Dylan’s investigations and the interviews, I knew there was the making for an epic ending. It did not disappoint, one bit! This novel is very tough to review without leaving spoilers or ruining the plot for other readers. It doesn’t all come together, until the very last few pages but when it does, it is mind-blowing! The novel has a very strong theme of mental health. Which is portrayed with a detailed accuracy. I should know, I worked for 10 years in adult mental health. The topic of how far we would go, to convince others of what we saw. Dylan’s obsession with the boy’s whereabouts, plunging Dylan into crisis after crisis. The writing style is very unique. I hope this not deter readers, who are used to a standard police procedural read. I was constantly questioning Dylan’s actions and behaviour; I began to suspect maybe the boy was just a mere delusion. Does the boy exist? Who is the boy? What is happening to the boy? Why is he so sad?
The boy does exist and all will be revealed. But the thing with delusional people is that they are utterly convincing! I shall finish this review with Dylan’s early thoughts on seeing the boy in such obvious distress.
“Every boy deserves soothing words when he’s done himself harm”