New from the author of the New York Times beseller and ispiration for the Netflix Movie Bird Box
A chilling novel about a group of musicians conscripted by the US government to track down the source of a strange and debilitating sound
The Danes—the band known as the “Darlings of Detroit”—are washed up and desperate for inspiration, eager to once again have a number one hit. That is, until an agent from the US Army approaches them. Will they travel to an African desert and track down the source of a mysterious and malevolent sound? Under the guidance of their front man, Philip Tonka, the Danes embark on a harrowing journey through the scorching desert—a trip that takes Tonka into the heart of an ominous and twisted conspiracy.
Meanwhile, in a nondescript Midwestern hospital, a nurse named Ellen tends to a patient recovering from a near-fatal accident. The circumstances that led to his injuries are mysterious—and his body heals at a remarkable rate. Ellen will do the impossible for this enigmatic patient, who reveals more about his accident with each passing day.
Part Heart of Darkness, part Lost, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking new novel plunges us into the depths of psychological horror, where you can’t always believe everything you hear.
At the start of Malerman's deeply weird second novel (after 2014's Bird Box), Philip Tonka awakens from a six-month coma, with his memory in disarray, to the news that every single bone in his body has been broken. Flashback to a day in 1957, when Philip and his fellow WWII vet bandmates in the Darlings of Detroit (aka the Danes) are approached by Secretary Mull, a government man who has a job for them. Military radio operators have intercepted a sound that causes violent illness and that disables weapons from nuclear warheads to side arms. Mull hires the Danes to go to the Namib Desert to locate the sound's source. The action alternates between Philip's recovery at the secretive Macy Mercy Hospital outside Des Moines, Iowa, where mad Dr. Szands administers a strange drug that speeds his healing, and the Danes' expedition to the Namib, where they discover bizarrely misshapen corpses. In the end, this creepy supernatural thriller delivers only a partial explanation for the odd phenomena. Some readers are apt to feel befuddled.
Black Mad Wheel
I did not realize the was the author of The Bird Box until I had already started reading this story. The writer is a mad genius. His descriptions are fresh and creative. He wipes the film and fog off of the lens of the minds eyes and renews the readers vision and imagination.
One review stated that readers might end up befuddled. I loved the ambiguity and the mystery of the central phenomenon. It allowed the story to reverberate within me for some time after I read it.
I wondered what the sound was. I imagined it was the voice of Gaia. A sound made more accessible and focused by the base and self-serving machinations of modern man, civilized man, who practices good hygiene and conscientiously washes his hands so as to forget how the blood dripped from them. I imagined the sound was the wail of a dying planet and the sound, amplified, broke bones and ruptured reality itself, instead of merely breaking your heart, if you have a heart to break.
I love this writer. He is a genius.
A let down
Super unique and inventive in the beginning. Although as mysterious and escalating as it felt, the climax was so ambiguous, it seemed
unexplainable to the author. Too intangible and ethereal the later 3rd of the book is.
Josh Malerman, while only having 2 novels under his belt thus far, has a wonderful and new voice when it comes to suspense/horror fiction. I don't think there is another quite like it and it fills me with joy to experience it. I can't wait to see what else comes out of his splendid mind. First Bird Box, now Black Mad Wheel...I wait patiently for his next work. Let it be soon.