by Carlie M A Cullen
Dead, dead, dead. Say it enough times and it becomes just another word. What would you do? Could you kill a killer? Does the death of one appease the deaths of a hundred? What about that hundred against a thousand? What if you had no choice? Meet Sin. No, not that sort of sin, but Sin, crazy as a loon (you ask Sister Moon), and proud of it. Sin locks himself away in an asylum and, every so often, gets violent. That's only so they'll give him those nice drugs, though. The ones that help him forget. It's a pity they don't work. Sin, you see, has a serious problem. Well, it's not so much his problem, as ours - yours, mine and everyone else's. People die around Sin. He doesn't like it and there's nothing he can do about it. But someone else knows, and Sin has to stop them... and himself... Flip and catch...
This book is written entirely in first person. Allan’s character creation depicts a wacky, troubled man who has a strange problem – people die when he flips and catches a two-pence piece.
Sin, yes it’s a strange name for a character and his parents obviously had a peculiar sense of humour when naming him, finds a two-pence piece when out one day. He flips and catches it and very shortly after, the first incident happens and people die. At first, Sin doesn’t make the connection that he’s responsible, but when he does he tries to get rid of the coin. However, the coin somehow keeps finding its way back into his pocket; no matter how hard he tries to dispose of it (and boy does he try), it always comes back.
As the incidents increase, he has trouble reconciling what he’s capable of, begins to doubt his own sanity and voluntarily commits himself to a mental asylum. Unfortunately, there are people in the institution who actually believe in his ability and they are less than scrupulous, taking advantage of it when he’s under the influence of drugs.
Sin’s sister, Joy, has the opposite ability. When she flips and catches a two-pence piece she found (and can’t get rid of), she brings happiness to those around her. And she has trouble coping with her gift too.
Allan brings his characters to life in a totally unique way. Sin has some quirky ways of saying things, but it just makes him more realistic. He’s weird and you really get right inside his mind, but the author has crafted him in such a way that despite his strange and horrifying ‘talent’, you really start to care about him. You feel his angst as he struggles to deal with the aftermath of each flip and catch of the coin and understand all too clearly why he decides to shut himself away from the world. When he realises he’s been betrayed by the person purporting to want to help him, Sin’s shock and incredulity rolls off the pages, especially when he witnesses innocents being murdered to protect the secret.
The plot is unusual, mysterious and dark yet it races along at quite a pace. It is cleverly written with good use of description. Sin, the character, is larger than life and will stay with you long after you turn the last page.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this novel, especially if you want to read something very different and totally unique.