Liz Patterson | A story that will keep you out of the basement

Liz Patterson | A story that will keep you out of the basement


If you're looking for a book that's perfect for the season, Brendan Deneen's latest work, "The Chrysalis," is a perfect choice. A flashback sequence of a shocking and gruesome murder opens the novel, immediately letting the reader know that this book is not for the squeamish.

Jenny and Tom Decker are a young couple living in New York City. Tom is a bartender and attempted (though unsuccessful) artist. Jenny works as a personal trainer for a corporate gym.

The primary breadwinner for the family, Jenny loses her job when the company downsizes. Their sky-high Manhattan rental becomes unsustainable for them, so they take out a loan to purchase a Victorian home in New Jersey.

Their realtor assures them that this gem is, in fact, in their price range due to its as-is status and the home being piled high with junk.

In what soon becomes their new home, Tom discovers what seems to be an oversized, rancid chrysalis in the basement. Its pulsating mass sickens him immediately. Without thinking, he reaches out and touches the grotesque form. The effect of that touch has him hooked immediately.

The couple settles into their new community and soon learn Jenny is pregnant. Tom is doing incredibly well in his new sales job, thanks in large part to his frequent visits to the chrysalis.

Each time he touches it, he becomes more charismatic, more likeable, and more charming. Yet, not all of the effects are so positive. Tom also becomes more short-tempered, aggressive, and develops gory and disturbing hallucinations.

Tom and Jenny's friends and loved ones become concerned as Tom's behavior becomes more and more erratic and unpredictable.

After a distressing incident at a party, Jenny leaves home to stay with friends in Manhattan, but Tom's unruly behavior continues to escalate at an alarming rate. The chrysalis becomes the only thing in his life that matters.

"The Chrysalis" is a disturbing and suspenseful novel with a climax that will leave the reader reeling.

In the vein of David Lynch's "Eraserhead," "The Chrysalisæ makes all of your darkest fears of bringing a new life into the world come to fruition.

Read it — if you dare!

Liz Patterson is an information assistant at the Urbana Free Library. She is a former fifth-grade teacher and a self-proclaimed ghost story and horror film fanatic.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (1):Books