Painless by Marty Thornley

Painless5 stars


The debut psychological-horror novel from author Marty Thornley is a page-turning ride, a front row seat to a clinical trial gone horribly wrong. 

For Greg Owens, this was supposed to be a chance to end years of back pain and escape his reliance on pain pills. If it all worked out, he could maybe even get back the life he left behind as the pills took control.

Instead, as the patients are cured of their physical pain, they encounter a different sort of pain building inside them – obsessive thoughts, depression, self-destruction. The side-effects grow worse, and the suspense ratchets tighter. The patients want answers and violent revenge, setting them on a collision course with a crazed doctor, determined to protect his life’s obsession.

Sweet baby llamas, this book made me uncomfortable. I had to take breaks just to wince in disgust at some of the scenes….

So it goes without saying, it was a fucking marvellous book.

The premise of the book is a medical trial, where patients suffering from chronic pain can undergo a procedure that will cure them forever. Of course, nothing’s ever that simple and it all goes a bit gross from there…

The author is a genius, using chronic pain as an evil. Describing the hopelessness these patients feel when there doesn’t seem to be a way out of their suffering, it’s extra horrible when you know that many people feel this way day in day out and don’t have the hope of a medical trial that might solve all their problems. This builds up the tension in the book wonderfully, you feel huge sympathy for all of the patients and genuinely hope that they trial will work for them – which then makes the rest of the book so much more horrendous.

There’s a great mix of characters, all suffering from chronic pain for a variety of reasons and have their own unique responses to their situations.

This is body horror and abnormal psychology at its best, it’s a fairly simple premise but beautifully written and straight up traumatising to read.

I would heartily recommend this book to all fans of gory horror and anyone who really wants to have nightmares for a week.



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