I flew through this one (which at 213 pages its a bit like a novella) and genuinely enjoyed the story. This was a very quick read, with non-stop action from chapter to chapter. The story never breaks pace, right through, which adds handily to the ability to burn through it at record speed.
I liked the variation in characters in this one, specifically the way that Joshua, the psychiatrist and Harold, his mentally ill patient, play off one another. Harold’s illness was intriguing as it had the twist to it which allowed him to be exceptionally strong when he was having an episode, and I think this piece will be interesting growth to the characters as the series continues.
I also enjoyed the interactions between Harold and Joshua – they made an excellent pair, and I would be curious to see how their relationship evolves after the events of this book.
I also liked that the mystery itself was cleverly put together and unwound itself neatly – in a reasonably plausible way.
Overall, this was an enjoyable quick read for me, and I look forward to seeing how this series moves forward.
Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
Joshua and the Shadow of Death is a tense work of thriller fiction by author Gary McPherson, and the first book in the Berserker Series. The series’ title hints at the work of central character Doctor Joshua Zeev, a childhood development psychiatrist who is examining a condition nicknamed Berserker Syndrome. Children with the condition fly off into fits of blind rage, and Joshua thrives when working with two half-brothers at an orphanage in North Carolina. When the youngest of the brothers is cured, the adopted parents of the older boy continue to allow Dr Zeev to try to fix Harold. But as Harold grows into a man, his adopted father commits suicide, throwing everyone into a flurry of intrigue, suspense and a ticking time bomb of rage.
As Joshua tries to unpick what may have caused his dear friend Richard Brown to kill himself, so begins a fascinating tale that is conceptually very well created. Overall, Gary McPherson’s work is atmospheric, creating a slow burn of terror as we wait to see whether poor Harold will be able to contain his grief-stricken rage. Placing a psychiatrist in the role of detective adds a new and unique perspective to the unveiling of the plot, but also makes Joshua fallible in his ineptitude, which makes for a realistic lead character you can empathize with. Overall, Joshua and the Shadow of Death is a compelling psychological thriller, both entertaining and chilling. Perfect for fans of the genre.
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite
Joshua and the Shadow of Death: The Berserker Series, Book 1 is a psychological thriller novel written by Gary McPherson. Dr. Joshua Zeev had given up his professional practice, friends and family in North Carolina to accompany Barbara and Richard Brown, a wealthy Malibu couple who had committed themselves to making a home for Harold, a young boy who seemed more demonic than any patient Joshua had ever encountered. Harold and his half-brother had been surrendered by their mother who had traumatic issues of her own to deal with. Both children had exhibited aspects of Berserker Syndrome, Harry especially so. While the couple had been able to adopt Harold, April had insisted on retaining custody of her other son, Bill. Harold was large for his age, but his ferocity and anger made him seem more of an adult than a child when he was aroused. Joshua alone knew how to help the troubled boy, how to take him to their special place where the boy was able to work through his issues and regain control.
Gary McPherson’s conspiracy thriller novel, Joshua and the Shadow of Death: The Berserker Series, Book 1, was of particular interest to me for its focus on Berserker Syndrome and the efforts jointly made by Harold and his psychiatrist to help him learn to keep it under control. McPherson’s plot is ingenious, and his depiction of the relationship between Harold and Joshua is masterful. I especially enjoyed seeing how Joshua also comes of age, as it were, throughout the book and begins to develop a social persona that is separate from his lifelong commitment to his work. Both he and Harold are marvelous characters, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them in the next book in the series. Joshua and the Shadow of Death: The Berserker Series, Book 1 is most highly recommended.
Arden’s Bookclub Review
If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you know my typical reads involve love / romance / Hallmark Happy Endings. I mean, the princess should always get the happy, handsome prince. Or, maybe the princess should get the new vacation house in Hawaii. She isn’t sure yet.
So, when Gary McPherson’s book was presented to me, I entered my reading it with a bit of trepidation. I wanted to do a review of it justice.
Y’all, I had a ball reading this book. Joshua got a little deeper into his thoughts at times than I preferred, but, to be fair, his world was rocked majorly by the actions of other characters in the book. I really enjoyed Harold and his development process throughout the journey of this book.
CrystalJ 4 stars Amazon Review
What I liked about his book:
The story was very promising, it was a good idea and unique. The characters were well written and interesting. You want to develop a bond with Harold and Joshua. The book did keep my attention to keep turning pages, I wanted to see what was going to happen next in the story.
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” by Gary McPherson
Gary McPherson, Author of “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” is an intriguing, intense, captivating, frightening, and entertaining novel. The Genres for “Joshua and the Shadow of Death” are Thriller, Fiction, Mystery and Suspense. The dysfunctional characters are described by the author as complex and complicated.
Dr. Joshua Zeev, is a psychiatrist that specializes in childhood trauma and illnesses. The doctor is hired by his good friends Richard and Barbara Brown, when they adopt a young child that almost seems possessed. Joshua was able to cure his brother who is still in an orphanage. As Joshua works with Harry, who has frequent outbursts and unstable temper, it seems that he makes some headway.
It seems that the doctor is at the house for many years. Harry is now grown, and with Joshua’s help seems to be in control. That is until he sees his father Richard kill himself. Richard leaves a note behind with a complicated and sad explanation. There seems to be a conspiracy and threats against Richard’s company. Now to look for any answers seems to be very dangerous. Dr. Zeev almost doubts everything as he searches for closure. I was sitting at the edge of my seat as I read this. There are twists and turns. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy suspense and a psychological thriller.