A silly title belies the maturity and power of Gary A. Braunbeck’s latest horror novel. Instantly, the MR. HANDS moniker brings to mind the five-fingered nemesis of Mr. Bill from those old, darkly comic SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE shorts. There’s nothing comic about this novel – but, boy, is it dark.
After a too-long prologue in which the framing story is set up – a mysterious guy in a bar tells the tale we read to the town sheriff and reverend – we’re introduced to Ronald James Williamson, aka never-captured serial killer Uncle Ronnie. Branded a “retard” by his unloving father, Ronnie discovered at a young age that he had a most peculiar gift: sensing and taking away the pain of children, simply by touching them. Of course, that touch can kill.