We Follow the Dying Light

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
294 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

David is the author of the psychological thriller We Follow the Dying Light, released November 2017.

Formally educated in economics, finance and business management, David also has significant experience writing non-fiction. For several years he authored the website the Dismal Scientist. In addition to writing, David has self-published two board games and continues to lend his creativity to his personal and professional life. Originally from the Canadian East Coast he now lives with his family in Toronto.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

A professional reviewer should not use the words “a page turner” to describe an interesting book. It reeks of hyperbole. Unless, of course, said reviewer finds himself rapidly turning the pages in a novel as gripping as We Follow the Dying Light by David Donaldson. Partly due to his highly assertive, punchy writing style, but mostly because his fascinating plot moves so swiftly forward, Donaldson’s psychological thriller is – here we go again – “impossible to put down.” Make no mistake; this book is first and foremost a psychological thriller. Catarina Chambers, a near-future psychiatric counselor, uses a controversial and self-tested technology to treat her suffering patients, joining them inside their most traumatic memories to ameliorate the severest post-traumatic symptoms. What could possibly go wrong?

Told with the immediacy of a single television episode, one might wish We Follow the Dying Light would delve more deeply into its rather complex psychological foundations and underpinnings, but David Donaldson – with some justification – instead chooses to keep the reader moving forward on a high-speed ride to likely oblivion. Ms. Chambers, under the distinctly irritating and antagonistic supervision of a government overseer charged to evaluate her methods for a possible major grant, is forced to proceed with undue haste and lack of safeguards in treating her most mysterious, government-supplied patient who remains traumatically mute and unresponsive. Courageously, Catarina dives headlong into the memories that made him so, and worse, the mental constructs he erected to preserve his last shred of sanity. And the pages just keep turning until the end.

Viga Boland

We Follow the Dying Light by David Donaldson is described as “a mind-bending, psychological thriller” and it most certainly is all that, especially when you consider the premise behind it. Imagine what it would be like if one could access the deepest regions of another person’s memory, reaching deep into traumatic events around which a person has erected, as a way of coping with the pain of remembering, barriers never meant to be breached. This to some degree is what therapists attempt to do, but getting patients to go deep, really deep, and face their trauma is often an exercise in futility.

That’s why psychiatrist Cat Chambers offers patients an easier and less painful way to heal, less painful for them but often very painful, even frightening for her. Cat’s therapy involves having patients sit inside a salt water chamber on one side of a computerized machine known at PTER, while she does the same on the other side. While both she and her patient are immersed, through the wonders of technology, she is able to enter their minds and memories to uncover and face the trauma locked in their memories. What she experiences is, at times, mind boggling, but ultimately very helpful to her patients…until the day she tries to help a stone-faced mute. When she manages to break through the barriers he has erected, she wishes she hadn’t as she puts herself, her husband and her co-workers in danger, and her practice itself in jeopardy.

Prepare yourself for a very descriptive, surreal and fantastical ride through these patients’ minds when Cat is working. When she isn’t, rest temporarily with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Largo. Donaldson’s characters and scenes are familiar, comfortable and realistic when away from PTER. The pace is quick, the dialogue natural and the plot ever on the move. Of course, at the end, you will ask yourself whether it might just be better to leave traumatic, buried memories where they are: buried!

Rabia Tanveer

We Follow the Dying Light by David Donaldson is a psychological thriller that takes the reader on an epic journey. This is the story of Catarina Chambers, a psychiatrist with anxiety issues, who takes on a patient that changes her life. This patient has an opioid addiction. He's a patient who doesn’t talk, but needs serious help. His case is taken by Cat, who knows that she would do anything in her power to unlock this man’s mind and discover what horrors are trapped in there, stopping him from speaking out.

To break into his mind, Cat uses a controversial technology called PTER to treat him. She has used PTER before on her patients to see the most horrible memories of her patients. This helps her in helping them, but also helps her in paying her penance for what she had done. Now that she is working on her new patient with PTER, she finds that they are not so different. There is something in his memories that can help her find answers to her own troubled past. Should she take the risk and move just a little further with PTER? Can Cat risk herself and her patient to find her answers? Does she really have a connection with him or is it all in her head?

Honestly speaking, I am so impressed with the flow of the novel and how David Donaldson handled the characters. I loved how he built the story, brought the characters to center stage, and ensured that I did not want to put the novel down. Cat’s character is such a complex one that just made the story even better. With her at the center, and her back story to keep the thrill and the mystery of the plot intact, I just wished that there were a few more pages to keep turning. I loved it.