Damien is a young man in his mid-twenties who is visited by his estranged older brother who needs his help. The fact that Damien is a PhD student in astronomy and his brother has been involved with secretive organizations related to astrobiology is not a coincidence. While growing up, Damien was an outcast in his family to the point that he essentially ran off in his early teens. His mother and older brother, Cameron, had an unnatural bond that involved ritualistic torture of strangers in the woods near their home. This bizarre family past somehow was connected with astrological events like meteor showers and comet appearances. The adult Cameron appears on Damien’s doorstep seeking help with mystery that has him over his head in turmoil and involved their mother who has died two years earlier. Somehow, dear old mom still has control over Cameron. Her presence involves the working of some otherworldly, if not alien, force.
The novella is written in the first person from Damien’s point of view. The result is an internal exploration of past and present – and Mr. Hodge is in complete control. The inner workings of Damien’s world are expertly portrayed. The actual plot line is gripping and unusual. This isn’t an action packed novella, but the story is so absorbing and, quite frankly uniquely gripping given the nature of the subject matter, that the pace maintains a high level of tension. I had no clue how Mr. Hodge would deliver the goods at the end, and I was not disappointed. For me, this was a a highly unusual story penned by a very talented writer. Highly recommended.