Insanity by Susan Vaught

Title: Insanity
Author: Susan Vaught
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Netgalley

From Goodreads

Never, Kentucky is not your average scenic small town. It is a crossways, a place where the dead and the living can find no peace. Not that Forest, an 18-year-old foster kid who works the graveyard shift at Lincoln Hospital, knew this when she applied for the job. Lincoln is a huge state mental institution, a good place for Forest to make some money to pay for college. But along with hundreds of very unstable patients, it also has underground tunnels, bell towers that ring unexpectedly, and a closet that holds more than just donated clothing….When the dead husband of one of Forest’s patients makes an appearance late one night, seemingly accompanied by an agent of the Devil, Forest loses all sense of reality and all sense of time. Terrified, she knows she has a part to play, and when she does so, she finds a heritage that she never expected.

With her deep knowledge of mental illness and mental institutions, Susan Vaught brings readers a fascinating and completely creepy new book intertwining the stories of three young people who find themselves haunted beyond imagining in the depths of Lincoln Hospital.

I will admit it was definitely the cover that first drew me to this book. How could that creepy cover not draw one in? When I read the description for Insanity I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. The beginning immediately draws readers in, “Death’s walking on two legs” There were so many strong lines in this novel, but unfortunately the set up of the story didn’t do it for me.
From reading the description provided to me I had no idea the book was going to be three separate stories. The book starts out with Levi, moves to Forest, after Forest we are introduced to Darius, from Darius we see Trina, before ending where we began with Levi. I found this very confusing. This could have been because it was a galley, but there was no indication when the narrative shifted. It took a little bit each time for me to realize that it had shifted and figure out who I was reading about at that moment. The time shifts throughout the story could have been a little clearer also. On the one hand it could have been a stylist choice by the author to not alert the reader to the exact amount of years that had passed, but on the other I feel like it could have made the story easier for me to follow. Knowing how long the story had been going from the moment Levi’s story began could have helped me better understand the characters.
Aside from being confused on who was narrating throughout the book, I also was not a fan of the multiple narrative element. I honestly believe that the book could have been stronger if it was told through one character. I feel like the same effect of the story arcs could have been accomplished through a single narrative. I liked the opening with Levi, but I believe following Forest throughout the book, instead of jumping around, would have been stronger.
One thing that I did really like about this story was using Lincoln as a character. The asylum really takes on a life of it’s own throughout the book and I love the continuous tolling of the bells whenever something is happening. I thought that was a fantastic addition to the horror novel.

Overall I think this book had some really incredible qualities to it, but there was too many people talking and too many things going on in this story for me to really get into it. I do believe that any fan of horror who is looking for something really interesting should give this book a try though!