The Ink Run - Dale Brendan Hyde - Book Cove

The Ink Run – Dale Brendan Hyde

The Ink Run is a novel of a life spiralling further and further downwards on a path of violence and cruelty through the gates of hell and beyond – to that dreadful void where hope has long gone.


A boy growing up in an abusive environment where happiness consists of him being in his shelter, his raft. A father who never misses an opportunity to express his disgruntlement at his son, Otis, being alive. A mother as dismissive as her spouse of her only child,. Somehow young Otis feels that, without his father, his mother would have been someone different – a loving mother instead of someone who neglects him and steps over his to unconsciousness beaten body at the bottom of the stairs on her way out. However miserable his circumstances, Otis has no idea of the depths of his father’s depravity in constructing a devilish, murderous plan that will change Otis’s life forever.


A loving and caring father and mother, a warm meal every day and a safe environment growing up, these are things Otis knows exist but of which he has no experience whatsoever. His childhood is one of constant abuse and daily batterings, of a disinterested mother and a father who wished he was never born. Otis has a friend, Johnny who suspects what is happening but even he has no inkling as to the extent of the daily abuse. One unconsciousness follows another as yet another devastating blow or cruel form of abuse is delivered to Otis’s head. Otis’s only escape is his raft and his grandfather who he secretly visits. As horrible as this is, Otis’s life takes a turn for the worse when his mother is found dead. Murdered. Only Otis knows who killed her: his father. To the outside world, it is Otis who is responsible. This is the day that Otis’s life spirals downward so fast, he cannot make sense of what and why this is happening.

Otis had a bad time growing up as he did but if he knew what lies ahead, he would probably lose his mind. The Police and the Magistrate, all are firmly convinced Otis coldbloodedly murdered his own mother – Otis’s father heartbreaking performance in court is the final draw, the nail in his coffin. The only ones on Otis’s side are his friend, Johnny, and his lawyer, Liberace Kerty aka Liberty. The latter uses the little influence he has to change the sentence into ten years in a mental institution. What follows is hell on earth, a place where man is stripped of almost anything that makes him human and exposed to sheer cruelty.  A place where terror and violence, murder and barbarism reign, where you barely know you exist due to the heavy medication.  It is here that Otis’s vivid nightmares, dreams and hallucinations melt into one another. No wonder Otis has difficulty distinguishing reality from hallucination. How can anyone survive in this hellish nightmare or even consider a future outside? Otis does in the only way he can but will he ever see the daylight as a free man?

My Thoughts

The Ink Run is an extensive and fascinating novel, almost impossible to read and review. My thoughts hurdled through one another just like Otis’s nightmares, hallucinations and reality melted into another. What is real and what is not? Everything we read, all the events taking place are brought to us through Otis’ perception; it is through his eyes we enter his world which makes it difficult to distinguish facts from fiction. To complicate matters, the novel is part fact, part fiction too. What happened to Otis, even if only a fragment is true, is plain horrible. You have to have the stomach and determination to read the novel – it is a thick one but the biggest issue is the train of thoughts, dreams and reality mixed into the story which is written from Otis’s point of view and in his words up to a point where you cannot decipher what is real and what not – what happens and what is pure fantasy. Added to that are the utterly distressing descriptions of life inside the mental institution which we pray were not fact-based. The inhuman attitudes towards the mentally ill are, thank God, acts from a distant past.

If you care about the intentional spelling errors the author uses to show us Otis’s language as this is him speaking to us, you will have a hard time reading The Ink Run. If you want a straight story with a clear red line, again this is not for you. However hard it was to read, The Ink Run is also intriguing and in all its violence, shows the reader the devastating results of growing up in an abusive environment – a clear sign of just how enormous the influence of nurture is towards a person’s behaviour. It takes enormous willpower not to fall back on the only pattern you are familiar with – and whether Otis succeeds you will have to read for yourself. To me, the last part was as horrible as the previous ones, in a sense even more so but again, that is for you to decide. The Ink Run is a novel of a life spiralling further and further downwards through the gates of hell and beyond – to that dreadful void where hope has long gone.

About the Author 

Dale Brendan Hyde Author Image

Dale Brendan Hyde was born in Salford in 1974, yet has lived most of his life in the City of Wakefield West Yorkshire. A troubled life throughout his teens crescendoed in a lengthy prison sentence for robbery. Upon release, a mixture of attending college to retake failed schooling, continued trouble with the police and high courts until a university place seemingly became the catalyst to a more determined path of making his occupation that of a writer. He published his first poetry book by Route at the Yorkshire Art circus for the TS Elliot prize. Contributions to other writers books followed until in December 2016 his extensive debut novel The Ink Run was published.

Book Info 

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Hardback  482 pages
 Publisher  WarCryPress UK; 1 edition (1 Dec. 2016)
 ISBN  978-0995531239
 eBook  605 KB (22 Dec. 2011)


  • Dale Brendan Hyde

    Thank you Caroline for a very insightful review. All the best. Dale

  • Alan Williams

    I journeyed with Otis through a maze of torement and abuse,with this book The Ink Run,as the pages uncoil like a tightend spring i can not wait to read more of this Authors work.

  • Ruth Newton

    What a fantastic debut novel The author has succeeded in making you feel the pain of Otis and the hatred for His father Stan. As an avid reader of crime novels, I was gripped from the first page right to the end. I look forward to read more books by this author.

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