Macmillan Books


By Seth Patrick


In the world of the near future, Revivers are as much a part of crime scene investigation as white-coated and moon-tanned lab rats. Revivers can bring back the newly dead, allowing the authorities to learn the name of the murderer straight from the corpse’s mouth. Jonah Miller is a talented reviver working in the service of the US’s Forensic Revival Service. While carrying out a routine revival, Jonah senses something waiting in the darkness beyond death. Something ancient, patient and drawing closer. His superiors dismiss his fears as his own psyche reacting to the stress of the job. But Jonah is not so sure.

When Daniel Harker, a journalist who first brought the Revival phenomena to light, is murdered, Jonah and Harker’s daughter find themselves caught in the middle of a conspiracy that threatens not only the principles that he clings to, but the very future of humanity.

Before you even crack the spine of this beast, pay attention to the cover. It’s alive! Using Blippar, an app that brings inanimate objects to life, you can ‘Revive’ the victim on the cover and gain access to the FRS files. This extra dimension to the book is incredible! It makes the reader want to dive in and read the damn thing, whilst enthusiastically turning back to the cover for another ‘Blipp’ (You can also turn your ketchup bottles into recipe books and your crisps into weather forecasts. Not that I went through my cupboards ‘Blipping’ everything, of course)

Awesome apps aside; is Reviver a triumph of style over substance? Hell, no! Reviver strides confidently across a variety of genres; crime, supernatural, conspiracy, sci-fi. With so many plot threads, it would be easy to lose character depth and atmosphere. Seth Patrick holds tightly to both.

The appropriately named Jonah lives and breathes on the pages. There is a huge sense of his respect and empathy for the victims he revives. Jonah feels the victims’ anguish as they realise that they are dead and bearing witness to their own murder. He is possessed of a great sadness at the curse and blessing that his talent brings. Jonah finds himself isolated from the world around him due to the effects of ‘chill’ – a transference of physical coldness and psychic emptiness felt by some people through skin contact with a Reviver. His only friend and ‘sidekick’, Never, is a techie geek working for the FRS. Despite Jonah’s best efforts to keep himself aloof, Never’s huge heart and quick tongue keep their friendship alive. Seth Patrick has managed to create ‘real’ people who are easily relatable, even given the world they find themselves in.

Make no mistake; there is a lot of gore. However, it’s restrained, almost respectful gore. Reviver is not a gleeful splatterfest. As it deals with murder victims and the people trying to ‘help’ them, the gore is almost dispassionately described. Perhaps like an autopsy transcript, minus the Latin? If you want pulsating arterial spray, then Reviver is possibly not for you.

Where Reviver really excels is with its creepiness factor. The thing waiting in the dark that Jonah first encounters when reviving Alice Decker, is sleep-with-the-lights-on scary. As the thing draws nearer, more images are revealed. Burning cities. A shadow falling over the land and consuming everything. There are shades of Lovecraft in there. That horrible feeling of stagnant ice water dripping down your neck and freezing your spine. That sense of something otherworldy and utterly wrong just waiting for a chance to break through into our world...

When I read the synopsis of Reviver, I was slightly worried that it might go a little Laurell K Hamilton / Anita Blake. Thankfully there’s none of that slightly cartoony style here. Nor are there over long interspecies sex scenes. There are few flaws in Reviver. I did feel that some of the twists were foreseeable to the seasoned reader. The epilogue was clearly signposted from a few chapters back, but so well written that even if a little predictable, the fact that it lays the foundations for a follow up book or film lets Seth Patrick off the hook. Reviver is an original thriller, twisting and turning its way to a fabulous climax. I predict that Reviver will not only be a genre hit, but a mainstream one too.

Review by Tracey Katz