‘THE POISON ARTIST’ by Jonathan Moore, a multilayered dark crime horror. BOOK REVIEW

By | January 18, 2017

Normally, I read books in sequence. I just follow the ‘FIFO- First In- First Out’ policy.

For ‘The Poison Artist’ by Jonathan Moore, I made an exception. How could I hold myself back after reading my favourite author of horror stories Stephen King’s comment. He says ‘it is an electrifying read… I haven’t read anything so terrifying since Red Dragon.’



I started reading it with expectations rising high. And I have not really been disappointed. I partially endorse Stephen King’s statement fully aware that my reading pallet may not be as sharp as his.

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 5.46.10 pmThe Poison Artist is a complex story, a crime and horror thriller. Add on top of that multiple corpses piling up like a serialised crime, and you have enough on your plate. The suspense nicely builds up with each page, and in a moment of discovery, you realise that the author has been guiding towards it all the time.

Dr Caleb Maddox is a toxicologist and pain researcher. He recently had a breakup with his girl friend, Bridget. He is out of his house and walks into a bar late in the night. Here he sees the most beautiful lady Emmeline, who leaves an equally intriguing hint of possibilities. He is captivated to start his search for her. There is an uncanny hunger in him to find and meet her. It leads him to the same dark bar, where police holds him for questioning. One of the last night customer’s body has been found at the San Francisco harbour. Suicide cannot be ruled out.

However, the chief medical examiner Henry, a friend of Dr Caleb suspects something fishy. As he and Caleb have studied together, and they are good friends, he shares his observations with him, requesting him to check the corpse for poison.

The game starts now. Dr. Caleb is searching for the lady he met in the bar. The Chief Medical officer is working with Dr. Caleb to solve the crime. The Girl friend, Ms Bridget wants to come back. However, Dr Caleb is avoiding her, for some reason. Corpses are lining up at the harbour. The grant people are pushing Dr Caleb for closure of his research on pain. Too many stories and episodes start running in parallel. There are things that the characters are hiding, all you have are hints that are coded. A lot of things not making complete sense. You are taken on a ride where you start questioning what is evident and what is told within the lines. The darkness is complete. There is absolute greyness in the narration. The crime takes on an eerie mask, and you just want to find the truth.



You have a sinking feeling for the truth. You don’t want that to be the end. Who is the killer and what past of Dr Caleb is bothering him? In your ripping search, as passionate as Dr Caleb’s search for the seductress makes ‘The Poison Artist’ a real page turner, a gripping thriller. It is tough to leave the book.

Go ahead  and read it.

The POISON ARTIST– by Jonathan Moore, Pages 288, Orion Publishing

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