Pressure Chamber by Nir Hezroni

A calculating psychopath, with a messiah complex, emerges from the shadows of Tel Aviv and unsuspectingly provokes a (sub-conscious) battle of wills between himself and a forensic scientist whose professional focus occasionally blurs as she seeks to confront the personal demons that inhabit the darkest recesses of her childhood memories.

While awake Daphne relentlessly bears down on any clue, no matter how flimsy, that might reveal the whereabouts of the “Babysitter” but in a desperate attempt to unlock the past and reveal her faceless childhood tormentor Daphne resorts to lucid dreaming which potentially gives the sleeper the ability to bridge the gap between the real and imagined worlds by controlling your thoughts, while in a dream-like state.

Nir Herzoni develop Daphne’s character as a combustible mix of fire and fragility – professionally tough and meticulous but personally vulnerable and ultimately broken. By contrast the Babysitter’s personality is revealed in snippets of action and musings and the reader is left to piece together a fragmented skeleton of a man whose glimpses of normal behaviour are gradually suffocated by a delusional sense of righteousness that strip away any empathy we might have for him.

There appears to be no rationale for his behaviour and for the four families so catastrophically impacted by his actions it is left to Daphne, her police colleague Nathan and the maverick intelligence of her friend Rotem to analyse the breadcrumb trail of half-clues, assumptions and best guesses and ultimately unpick the lock of a madman’s mind.

The denouement is both clinical and inconclusive reflecting in many ways the apparent schizophrenia in the workings of an evil mind. Yet the plot’s increasing spotlight on the importance of lucid dreaming to both the sanity of Daphne and a possible alternative reality means that our traditional understanding of logic is somehow inverted as the focus on the power of sleep lead us to believe that internalising our emotions may result in the uncovering of the truth rather than observing what is going on infront of our eyes.

Pressure Chamber by Nir Hezroni. Published by legendpress Price £8.99. Buy it at amazonbooks

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