Wind Down By Mark Ewig

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Aaron has a big problem — and it all started with the night he was stabbed in the back by one of his roommates. You’ll be drawn into this outstanding and dynamic story from the very start, and carried forward on a wave of mystery and paranormal suspense.

Was it Drew, on meds because of an abusive situation at home? Or Ryan, who fought with Drew the night of the incident? Finally, there’s Jason, who disavows any involvement outright.

Aaron goes to the hospital and stays four days while the police try to figure out who plunged the knife into his back. His girlfriend Jessica just wants to be there for him as the four friends break up and go their separate ways with the mystery of Aaron’s assault unsolved.

Fast forward fifteen years. Jessica and Aaron are married with three wonderful children. His life is idyllic — a nice home, good job, and a family who loves him. But suddenly, things start going wrong.

He blacks out, sometimes while driving, sometimes for days on end. And that’s not all. He begins seeing things: an elderly couple that appear and disappear in the blink of an eye; an apparition that oozes from his television, known to him only as the shadow man; and odd, tingly sensations and a crushing weight that descends on him just prior to each blackout.

A shaman that he meets offers a startling explanation, and it’s one that he initially rejects.

“The power to control the world is in your hands,” intones the shaman, who encourages Aaron to link back up with his old roommates in an effort to see who might have set this strange series of life events in motion.

He gets no real answers from Jason, who now works as a policeman in a small town in Indiana. He continues to claim innocence, but does use his police connections to get the current addresses for Ryan and Drew.

On the way to see Ryan he again blacks out and comes to in a hotel room. Disoriented, he wanders the halls until he encounters Amanda — another friend from college, but looking like she hasn’t aged a day. She, too, encourages him to continue on his “journey.”

Will Aaron find the answers that he seeks? What is the significance of the wind-up monkey? And what’s the deal with the two bluebirds on the inner thigh of a stripper in central Illinois?

Follow Aaron on his quest for the truth. You, like he, may get more than you bargained for.

I give Wind Down five stars for inventive plot, intriguing and complex characters and a genuinely good story.

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