The Book of Malachi by T.C. Farren

A premise like no other book I’ve ever read: After working at the chicken packaging plant for several years, Malachi gets an opportunity get his voice back. He’s been mute for 15 years since rebels cut his tongue out, but he’s struck a deal to work as a maintenance worker in a prison in return for a new tongue. The catch is that the prison is also an organ factory: the prisoners grow the spleens, and livers, and kidneys while serving out their time. Malachi is seen as the perfect candidate for the job because he won’t be able to communicate with the convicts; it’s also assumed by the warden that because of his stature as a black man in this dystopian-African setting he is unable to read and write.

Malachi arrives at the prison and finds his new job to be quite trying… It seems the drugs they give the prisoners to assist in the growth of the organs also makes their toe and fingernails grow ridiculously fast. It’s now Malachi’s job to go around to each of the cages every day and cut those calcium growths back. It’s in this role that we meet the murderers and the bureaucrat administrators… The men and women who will control Malachi from above and below.

One of the best things about this book, besides that imaginative premise, is the language Farren uses to describe the characters and tell this story. Like the setting and overall atmosphere, the metaphors are dark, but they are satisfying. The authors uses a range of figurative language to evoke those feelings in the reader. I was truly impressed!

My only criticism while reading was that while the conclusion is good, the second act wanders a bit and takes awhile to catch that ultimate thread that takes the reader to the end. It should also be pointed out that some of the descriptions of the terrors in that penitentiary are pretty graphic. Be Aware!

The Book of Malachi is a horror-thriller that pushes some boundaries, but allows us to meet a remarkably interesting character in Malachi. My description doesn’t do Farren’s writing any justice. Pick it up for dark and horrifying vision of the near future.

4 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Edelweiss, Titan Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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