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Book Review: By Lang Reid
am not a fan of the supernatural. Ghosts exist in the minds of the easily
influenced, so when I was sent a copy of Mark Thomas’ Shadow Hunters (ISBN
978-974-16-9671-0, Bamboo Sinfonia) it was not a book I picked up with any
The back cover proclaimed, “Phanom and Ariceya become involved in
supernatural events that leads them on a chase throughout Thailand,” and
that meant I almost put it totally to one side. However, after one
terrifying day of reading it, I was almost afraid to fall asleep. Forget all
preconceived notions. This is a powerful book with imaginative verbal
Author Mark Thomas states at the front of the book that he met a village
elder from his Thai wife’s village who it was claimed to be around 120 years
old. Ages in the remote villages are always shrouded in mystery anyway. She
was a type of shaman and Mark Thomas interviewed her in 2002. Unfortunately
she died in 2003, but her memory lives on in this tale which she told to
Mark Thomas, even though the entire work is admittedly a work of fiction,
but apparently based on the framework as supplied by the old lady.
The all pervading theme in the first part of the book is that of a serial
killer, who literally tears the victims apart. The police are called in, but
the investigating police soon find that the same modus operandi has been
used all over Thailand, and sometimes at the same time, thereby ruling out a
killing spree by one demented individual.
After setting the exceptionally gory scene, the book introduces the two main
characters Phanom and Ariceya, who have discovered they have been given a
‘gift’ which includes their being able to see the perpetrator(s) of the
crimes and also experience the spirit world.
From there, they have to go on an arduous journey, following the visions
being given to Ariceya, whilst protected by the sixth sense given to Phanom.
The book also crosses over seamlessly between Buddhism and Islam, showing
that the ‘gift’ or sixth sense is not secular.
This is all delving well into the supernatural, but author Mark Thomas by
this time has got you so well into the story that you dare not put the book
down, in case you miss another horrifying detail. The action is thick and
fast, and with the gifted ones able to use ley lines.
Mark Thomas is a talented writer, but like all authors, needs the services
of a sub-editor to catch some of the errors which can otherwise slip through
and spoil the reading experience. For example, “precis”, when “precise” was
intended. Even “too” when “to” was correct usage (page 13 if you would like
to check) or “literary” when “literally” was intended (p.16).
However, at B. 395 this book is a bargain in the supernatural genre. If you
are looking for something to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, this
is it. With the proviso that it needed a damn good sub-editor, storywise,
this is an excellent book. And terrifying! Well worth a weekend’s read.
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