"The Patchwork Prince is a pell-mell misadventure involving drugs, sorcery, cannibalism, love and other necessary evils- - - experienced through asylum-tinted glasses. According to his medical file, Jean Du Pont is a failed suicide with brain damage, incapable of speech or self-care. In what passes for reality, he has telenovela-grade amnesia and spends his days locked inside his own broken mind. And inside a modern-day madhouse, to boot. When a routine sojourn to the asylum's padded cells sees two orderlies dead and another patient mauled, Jean is left leery of his perceptions- - - and his newfound superpowers. It is not impossible that a bad batch of Thorazine is responsible for everything. As his blackout subsides, he finds he has kidnapped his psychiatrist and committed a violent B&E. Years' worth of withdrawal begin to hold his mind hostage. The homeowner he hogtied to the toilet appears less than human and he himself is speaking in tongues (English and French being but two). Desperate for the clarity of a fix, he flees. Provenance, and the Audi that runs him over, take him to Paris. There, his pickpocketing hands run afoul of the wrong Albanian gangster. High on heroine meant for the sex slave trade, he accidentally rescues the heiress of a milieu don, one Natalie. Far from being grateful, her father orders Jean's death. He narrowly escapes into police custody... where he is promptly painted with a serial killer-brush. Jean is plucked from his predicament by an eccentric CEO, who is not at all what he seems. Pillowed on the breast of Big Pharma, Jean is forced to admit that the CEO, Zabat, is even crazier than he. The man talks sorcery and spells like they're stocks and commodities. Dangling knowledge of his past, Zabat tries to entice Jean into an unhealthy relationship. They have a falling-out. Literally. The billionaire does not handle the rejection well and sets out to seriously mess with Jean's day. Stumbling Stoned is the start of Jean's journey of self-discovery, reclamation and the inhuman effort of coming to grips with the outrageous delusion we call 'reality.' "
(This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review)
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When I realized that Wyck's Stumbling Stoned was like Memento meets a season of Fargo, I was all in. A book about a mental patient with amnesia that has supernatural powers? Yes, please!
I was completely blown away by the twists and turns in this story, and even more so by how well it all fit together. But if you find dark humor distasteful, you won't like this book very much. I found myself giggling at things I probably shouldn't have, but these things made it all the better.
Our main character is an amnesiac mental patient known as John Doe, and the entire story is told from his point-of-view. He escapes from the hospital soon after the start of the story with one of the psychiatrists in-tow. We find that Doe has tied up the former in a bathtub while an older man is tied up to a toilet. The man is unknown to the two, and apparently has jet black eyes that make him seem inhuman. And Doe seems to have eaten a fellow patient's finger and upchucked it in the sink- - - something that surprisingly disgusts him - - - and leads him to a drawing on the mirror above, something Doe drew before blacking out.
Doe, after realizing he kidnapped the psychiatrist, quickly lets her go, and goes off on his own with no idea who he is or where he's going. Just when the reader suspects that Doe might find out who he is, he is suddenly swept up into a human trafficking business and mafia dealings he had no idea existed. And because of this, after being drugged by a mafioso, Doe realizes that he has supernatural powers whenever he is hopped-up on drugs.
When Doe makes an escape from the dirty warehouse where young girls are held as sex slaves, he helps these girls by breaking their chains with his bare hands. Not only does he co-lead their escape, but he also ends up saving the daughter of a well-known Mafia boss. However, this leads to Doe being stuck in the middle of a family feud, and he is almost killed by this very same family for knowing just a little too much. And this isn't even half of the story!
Later on, Doe ends up in the hands of a witch, but he realizes quite quickly that she's not the one to fear, but rather who she is working for - - - a man named Zabat- - - who she is delivering our character to. Somehow, Zabat knows exactly who Doe is and why he has supernatural powers, but he refuses to tell him unless Doe helps him first. Doe refuses and, instead, throws himself out of a high rise window. From here, Doe begins to piece some of his life together, but Zabat causes a couple of problems that ends up revealing to the reader that Doe is not human and that the supernatural powers are not a figment of his imagination.
Now, the story is so fast-paced and borders on ridiculous at some points, yet it all fits together quite well; I personally can't think of another way this story could have been told, but that didn't make the book flawless. Stumbling Stoned had some bad writing techniques in it, but not enough that I think readers would put it down.
I can only recommend this book to people who like dark humor, but as far as horror - - - this isn't that type of book. Stumbling Stoned takes readers on a thrill ride through the seedier side of life. I personally believe this is a good book to read to get away from the daily stressors of life. I truly hope that Wyck decides to write a sequel!
About A. Van Wyck:
Andre' van Wyck is a South African-born writer and law school graduate. Despite the hardships of earning coffee money, and in between yelling at Duolingo, he perseveres at his passion: writing.
"When I started The Waking World series, it was an exercise in exorcism- - - a way to rid myself of this 'writing nonsense' and get back to my nine-to-five... it did not work out so well. "
His debut novel, A Clatter of Chains, published on Amazon's Kindle Store in 2016. The supposed palate cleanser (before starting the second installment) turned into a book in its own right and delayed publication of A Fray of Furies considerably. Stumbling Stoned was published in 2018 and advanced to the semi-finals of the vaunted Booklife Prize.
Andre' lives in Luxembourg with his Industrial Psychologist wife and imaginary pet rock.
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