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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Joshua and the Shadow of Death is a tense work of thriller fiction by author Gary McPherson, and the first book in the Berserker Series. The series' title hints at the work of central character Doctor Joshua Zeev, a childhood development psychiatrist who is examining a condition nicknamed Berserker Syndrome. Children with the condition fly off into fits of blind rage, and Joshua thrives when working with two half-brothers at an orphanage in North Carolina. When the youngest of the brothers is cured, the adopted parents of the older boy continue to allow Dr Zeev to try to fix Harold. But as Harold grows into a man, his adopted father commits suicide, throwing everyone into a flurry of intrigue, suspense and a ticking time bomb of rage.
As Joshua tries to unpick what may have caused his dear friend Richard Brown to kill himself, so begins a fascinating tale that is conceptually very well created. Overall, Gary McPherson’s work is atmospheric, creating a slow burn of terror as we wait to see whether poor Harold will be able to contain his grief-stricken rage. Placing a psychiatrist in the role of detective adds a new and unique perspective to the unveiling of the plot, but also makes Joshua fallible in his ineptitude, which makes for a realistic lead character you can empathize with. Overall, Joshua and the Shadow of Death is a compelling psychological thriller, both entertaining and chilling. Perfect for fans of the genre.