After reading Asylum, you might very well decide to let bygones be bygones and not revisit your past.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Instead of improving lives, Rose Hill stole their souls. It was disheartening not to be able to do anything about it, and now it was too late.Tamera Lawrence. Asylum (Kindle Locations 102-103). Grizli777. Kindle Edition.
Print Length: 232 pages
Text-to-Speech | Screen Reader | Enhanced Typesetting | Word Wise
Publication Date: 1 May 2019
Categories: Suspense | Thrillers | Suspense Thrillers
Trigger Warnings: Profanity | Violence | Death | Abuse | Bullying
Award-winning author. Tamera Lawrence is passionate about writing and, her books entertain readers with tense thrillers and mysteries. As a mother of six children, she uses her personal experiences to create interesting characters in complex settings. Tamera enjoys interacting with her fans and writing book reviews.
Other books by Tamera Lawrence is The Pond and the two Mayflower books:
Ghosts of Mayflower: A Pennhurst Haunting | Pennhurst Ghosts of Mayflower 2.
Asylum is her newest book, published in March 2021.
Join us on the tour!
Is it haunted?
Rose Hill Asylum
The book starts at the Rose Hill Asylum in Pennsylvania in 1984. It is a prominent place, consisting of various buildings, each with its basement. Tunnels connect the basements, making it possible to move between the buildings underground.
A big part of the narrative takes place in the current day Rose Hill Asylum. It has long since been abandoned and has now fallen into ruins. The campus is overgrown with trees and bushes, but the inside is even worse. The building and tunnels are mouldy, and many of the previous residents have abandoned their furniture and belongings.
The ruins have a lonely feel about them, and the gloominess of the tunnels might let you easily believe the place is haunted. Not unlikely, considering the number of souls who died in this place.
The asylum was home to many children and others with diseases and handicaps. But it was never a safe place due to abuse, failed operations, and inhumane treatment.
Over the years, the state had failed to upgrade the massive buildings or tend to its disabled residents. People were rotting away in their beds, basically fending for themselves. Instead of improving lives, Rose Hill stole their souls.Tamera Lawrence. Asylum (Kindle Locations 101-102). Grizli777. Kindle Edition.
The current day Rose Hill is not a place that you would willingly visit.
Kyle and Randy
Kyle Hampton was born in Rose Hill Asylum. His mother was a resident due to her childlike mental state. The male residents took advantage of her – and this is how she conceived Kyle, and his brother, Roy. Scott Hampton adopted Kyle but left his brother Roy behind.
Randy was sent to Rose Hill because his father was in jail, and his mother had taken off with another man.
Kyle and Randy were always best friends and kept in touch after Kyle’s adoption. Kyle got married and settled down, but Randy was always a bit of a drifter and adventurer, with an eye for the ladies. When he hears that Rose Hill will be sold, he decides to explore the place for old times’ sake and convince Kyle to go with him.
But these explorations set in motion a series of events that puts his own and his family’s lives in danger.
Stitches love the old asylum because the gloom and desolation fit his murderous personality.
He has an axe to grind with Kyle. With clever manipulation, he manages to lead Kyle into a trap and capture him in the tunnels. But who did he use to set up Kyle?
Who is Stitches?
Stitches love to use the phrase from their childhood hide-and-seek game in the tunnels.
“If you twitch, you’ll get stitched.”Tamera Lawrence. Asylum (Kindle Locations 77-78). Grizli777. Kindle Edition.
This phrase is the only clue Kyle has to figure out his identity. Is it his brother Roy who is angry for being left behind? Or one of the bullies from his childhood?
Kyle needs to figure out the identity of Stitches, and figure out his weak points, to have any chance to escape his capturers. And when his wife Beth is also captured, the stakes are even higher.
What did I like?
The success of the novel hinges very much on the setting. The author manages to describe the abandoned asylum so that we can see it in our minds and feel our hair stands on end with every noise from the desolated tunnels.
In its deplorable condition, Rose Hill Asylum was shocking. The campus was overgrown, appearing desolate and forsaken. Inside most of the brick buildings, it was worse. Mould and decay lingered in the air, eerily familiar and still just as gross.Tamera Lawrence. Asylum (Kindle Locations 70-71). Grizli777. Kindle Edition.
The plot contributes to the tension since the author keeps us guessing about the identity of Stitches. And there is the unexpected twist about who he uses to trap and capture Kyle.
I like how the author uses Stitches as a threat lurking in the background, especially since Kyle is not even aware of him initially. For example, he approaches Beth in the parking lot and visits Kyle’s adopted father in the nursing home.
The author creates a vivid picture of Kyle Hampton. He is exceptionally loyal and harbours much guilt about his past – even though it was out of his control. This loyalty and guilt make him go with Randy to explore the asylum, putting him at odds with his wife.
And not so much?
Asylum highlights the cruel practices that you often find in institutions. The people that are supposed to take care of you become the people you fear. Add to this the fact that their families often abandon these people; it means they have no one to turn to for help.
Although these elements make for a great story, I am horrified to think that these things happen in reality. And that people often land up in an institution where they don’t belong, and children so easily slip through the cracks of a government administrated system.
Should you read it?
It is never good to keep secrets. And Asylum has plenty of them. Stitches hide his origin, Kyle hides his activities from Beth, and Randy has a terrible secret. Secrets tend to reveal themselves, and never to the benefit of those keeping them.
The narrative tells the story of two friends who survive the cruelty of this place and stay in touch after that. The events that unfold after they visit the old place will keep you on edge, trying to figure out the identity of the mysterious Stitches. And you will be rooting for Kyle and Beth in their attempt to escape their capturers.
Asylum is a chilling tale of childhood abuse, betrayal, and the revenge of a twisted mind. Although ‘asylum’ by definition refers to a place for the mentally ill, you won’t expect to find normal children living there.
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