I first became aware of author Ronald Malfi when a whole buncha my friends started recommending his book Floating Staircase. I got the ebook and was instantly captivated by that psychological thriller masterpiece. I found Ronald's Facebook page and not long after that we became friends, too.
So, let me start out by saying that Mr. Malfi happens to be an awesome dude, by the way. He has offered advice and counsel on writing matters. He has been supportive of my work. He's cool. That has nothing to do with The Night Parade, but I think you should know - if you have Ronald Malfi in your corner as a writer, you got some good people.
I then went back and read one of his earlier novels - Snow. He told me this was more of a "creature feature", and it was. You could tell it was an earlier story. It was still a great read, but it wasn't quite of the caliber of Floating Staircase. See, I find that encouraging. Shakespeare wouldn't have become Shakespeare if he hadn't first written Titus Andronicus (which is horrible).
Well, I have just finished reading Mr. Malfi's latest novel, The Night Parade. It has taken me a week to get around to writing this review.
I don't like to swear on this site. I want this site to be for all people, but I have to say two words about this novel.
OK, that was three words.
Here's the story. The world is dying. A disease that causes bleeding from various orifices followed by brain deterioration that makes those suffering see horrifying and realistic hallucinations and delusions. It also means that the victims, in their later stages, are usually found wandering the streets in their underwear or doing horrible things to themselves like banging their heads into walls until they die. The disease gets the name Wanderer's Folly.
David Arlen and his daughter, Eleanor, are on the run. Why? Ellie is immune, just like her mother. Her mother has died, and now the government wants El. David is going to prevent that at all costs - even though he soon finds out he has the disease.
None of that are spoilers. That's all in the description. What follows next might be spoilers - so um....
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Ellie is very special. She is not just immune, but has other abilities, too. I don't want to give too much away, but trust me, there is more than just her ability to not get sick here.
I know - it sounds like a standard road story. It's not.
This is edge-of-your-seat, OH MY GOD, NO WAY thrilling suspense stuff here, folks. The completely and utterly brilliant thing Mr. Malfi does here is set up an entire world that is dying and then narrows the focus to just two people. Even more, we see everything through David's eyes. We never get all of the answers, but David wouldn't. What caused the Folly? No idea. How is it transmitted? No idea.
This is a man trying to save his daughter, while dealing with the death of his wife. Malfi reveals bits of what actually happened before they went on the run and, by the end, well, the revelations are the kind that will knock you backwards.
The ending! Oh man, how much I want to tell you about the ending. I don't really know if this is a spoiler or not - so um...
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The ending of this novel WRECKED ME! I mean, emotionally wrecked me to the point where I got almost no sleep the night after I read it. It was - oh! God, I want to tell you more, but you really need to drop whatever it is that you're doing and go buy a copy. I don't care if it's paperback or ebook - get it now. PLEASE!
This is easily one of the best books of 2016 and one of the best thrillers I've read in a while. I would easily compare it to Blake Crouch's RUN, Stephen King's The Stand and Robert R. McCammon's Swan Song.