Truth of the Shadows

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
264 Pages
Reviewed on 08/31/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite

Truth of the Shadows by Slade Templeton is a psychological thriller/horror fiction that revolves around Dr. Joseph Hoffman. He was the head psychiatrist at Cottage Grove Hospital who relied on logic and his vast knowledge seconded by science. In front of his patients, who talked about furniture moving at its own will, a dead son coming back, hallucinations of angels, etc., Joseph was the calm and composed psychiatrist who had a logical explanation for their delusional paranoia. However, underneath his confident demeanor resided ever-consuming guilt and sorrow. Ever since his wife died in an accident twenty-five years ago, he assumed a life of solitude. Lately, however, peculiar memories from his childhood began surfacing, filling his mind with confusion, and images of his dead wife. To add to his growing list of strange phenomena, a new patient, nineteen-year-old Jennifer, caused apprehension with her challenging words and unsettling wisdom. With each passing day, his sanity began slipping through his fingers and so did the peace of Cottage Grove Hospital. Something dark and sinister lurked inside him that threatened the peaceful life -- albeit a monotonous one -- that he had created for himself.

The tug of war between Joseph's psychiatric analyses and spine-chilling episodes of patients challenges readers to pick a side. Did the workaholic doctor finally begin hallucinating? Or, was a dark shadow hellbent on tormenting the good doctor and his patients? As the plot thickened, the patients and descriptive narration morphed into a hair-raising voice. The authentic writing of Slade Templeton painted Joseph in the most credible light as a psychiatrist. Joseph's gnawing guilt humanized him, while his flashbacks established an emotional connection with readers. The tangled web of his seemingly unrelated past and present made the storyline all the more engrossing. Templeton has created fascinating conversations between the psychiatrist and his patients. In addition to an intriguing plot and gripping narration, Truth of the Shadows has spooky graphics and interesting chapter titles to further enhance the reading experience. Psychological thriller fans would enjoy Truth of the Shadows by Slade Templeton.

K.C. Finn

Truth of the Shadows is a work of fiction in the supernatural thriller, suspense, and psychological chiller sub-genres, and was penned by author Slade Templeton. Written for adult audiences due to its spine-tingling horror concepts, the work also contains scenes of graphic violence. The action is centered around Joseph Hoffman, a small-town doctor who finds it difficult not to take the darkness of his psychiatric patients home with him, for he is certain that their unhinged natures will unlock his own memories, and the chaos he’s been trying to control. The work also utilizes augmented reality additions which take the reader deeper into the audio-visual atmosphere of the story.

Author Slade Templeton has crafted a stunning debut work that encompasses the very best of the thriller, psychological, supernatural, and horror genres to deliver a story that touches the darkest corners of our minds. One of the things which really set the work apart for me was the visual quality of the writing, which casts stark cinematic images into the minds of the audience: strange symbols and icons, fraught characters, and the mysterious spaces they inhabit. Hoffman was an exceedingly well-developed character with plenty of emotional depth, and delving into his own mind was just as terrifying as the patients he’s supposed to be treating. What results is a visceral experience that leaves its imprint in your mind long after you close the book. I’d certainly recommend Truth of the Shadows to all thriller fiction fans for its impact and accomplished style.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Horror tales come in many forms. Perhaps the most enticing are psychological in nature, although horror almost by definition explores the darkly psychological. Slade Templeton takes this to heart in his literally psychology-based horror novel, Truth of the Shadows. Set mostly in the institutionalized confines of an oddly remote asylum located deep within the Oregon woods, Cottage Grove - a deliciously provincial and non-threatening moniker, except for devotees of horror – this story develops nicely around the daily routines of its primary doctor, Joseph Hoffman. Like most great horror, things begin deceptively well. Like all great horror, things deteriorate quickly, progressively, and with the strangely sluggish momentum of a dream gone bad. Then, the nightmare begins. Mr. Templeton handles his own horrific plotline with deft and skill, leaving the reader to deal with an ever-mounting sense of dread without succumbing to inane efforts at denial.

What appeals most about Dr. Hoffman’s gradual devolution in Truth of the Shadows is Slade Templeton’s focus on the man himself, namely his troubled past and ancestry and the impact of personal tragedy on how he approaches both his patients and his rather conscribed world. This grounds him in reality. But when his reality begins to shatter, or at least to morph into morbidity, Dr. Hoffman’s professional training proves unequal to the task of examining and diagnosing his own situation and its relation to those he deems to be abnormal. His increasing identification with, and understanding of, the in-house patient population adds evolving tension to an ever-darkening story, leading ultimately to the kind of explanatory climax appropriate to the horrors of our own mundane world.

Jack Magnus

Truth of the Shadows is a psychological novel of suspense written by Slade Templeton. Cottage Grove Hospital was home to the suffering and those who might do harm to themselves or others. Dr. Joseph Hoffman was the head psychiatrist in Cottage Grove’s high-security unit. His professional life revolved around his work, the hospital’s staff, and the patients on his roster. His personal life was one of unceasing regret over the loss of his new bride, Helen, over two decades ago. Things in the doctor’s efficiently run ship began to go wrong, however, in strange and unpredictable ways. Medications didn’t work; patients began to scream for no reason; the furniture in a young woman’s room mysteriously unbolted itself and moved overnight. Joseph’s return home from a week away in Germany to mourn his mother’s passing seemed to intensify the darkness and foreboding that hung over Cottage Grove. Soon he realized there was a connection between the dark folk stories his Grandpa Franz had shared with him when he was a young boy and the events at Cottage Grove. Something infinitely dark and powerful was in control of the hospital and its inhabitants. How could Joseph find a way to counter it and survive?

Slade Templeton’s Truth of the Shadows is a well written and mesmerizing tale about love, grief, and revenge set in the small Oregon foothills community of Cottage Grove. While the early parts of the novel describing how the patients are virtually kept enthralled and obedient via pharmaceuticals instead of therapy are quite disturbing, I soon found myself engrossed in the story and unable to resist diving back into it on every free occasion. Templeton’s characters are authentic and true-to-life, and his plot is imaginative, dark, and unpredictable. The mythological elements he weaves into his story are marvelous and living through the darkness as Dr. Joseph Hoffman experiences it is stunningly effective and transfixing. I’m looking forward to future dark fantasies from this author based on his success with this one. Truth of the Shadows is most highly recommended.

Karen Walpole

Dr. Joseph Hoffman, head psychiatrist at Cottage Grove Hospital, doubts his own sanity as bizarre things begin to happen in the ward. Weighed down by sorrow and guilt over the death of his beloved wife, Helen, Dr. Hoffman distracts himself by immersing himself in his patients’ mental illnesses. He brings their problems home with him and has nightmares and delusions, his fix on reality starting to slip away. Just as unexplainable incidences begin to occur at home and work, Joseph Hoffman’s mother dies and he must travel back to Germany. After his mother’s funeral, Joseph uncovers a box of notebooks left to him by his grandfather. He does not appreciate the value of what’s in the notebooks until later. While he is away, patients get out of hand nightly, and no amount of Thorazine can keep the peace. Once home, Joseph explores his Grandpa Franz’s research about a local Native American legend and begins to understand what’s happening to himself and patients at Cottage Grove.

Truth of the Shadows by Slade Templeton combines a psychological thriller with ancient spiritual folklore to create an enthralling horror story. The author keeps the reader guessing about what is real and what’s not in this psychological horror story. He uses patients’ delusions, the doctor’s nightmares, and wonderfully strange Native American legends to weave a story that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. I often could not tell whether the visions and occurrences were caused by schizophrenia, drug-induced, or real. Slade Templeton mixes insanity and drug side-effects with supernatural legend to create an intriguing story.