The cover of The Hobgoblin of Little Minds by Mark Matthews may look like some sort of creature feature, but I’m here to tell you it most certainly is not. The creature on the cover was once human, and the story itself is sad, gruesome, and meaningful.
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the story goes, Kori Persephone Driscoe has endured her father’s mental illness her entire life. He has bipolar disorder and has been on and off various medications for years. The many cycles of mania that accompany his illness is much like the cycle of the moon. After several incidents, he was admitted to the Northville Psychiatric Hospital, and then just disappeared. When Kori tries to locate her father, she visits the seemingly abandoned hospital, and finds out much more lurking in the dark. Secret medical experiments are being performed on these suffering patients causing them to transform into animalistic, bloodthirsty creatures. They turn with the cycle of the full moon and become savages in the night.
Mark Matthews always writes introspective horror. His books of addiction horror are fantastic, and his new foray into mental illness is just as effective. Every character from the villain, to the protagonist, and to the were-creatures themselves are poignantly written. He is a licensed behavioral health counselor giving his stories that extra touch it needs for the readers to feel empathy for his characters. He does a tremendous job showing how medication or treatment in general can alter the person’s core personality. I found myself thinking about this book long after I finished.
The Hobgoblin of Little Minds is a beautifully and brilliantly written story about the many perspectives of bipolar disorder. It’s much more than a horror story with a malevolent creature – it’s a unique take on the woes of mental illness. Well done Mr. Matthews.