Tribunal by Dave Jeffrey
Demain Publishing, ebook, £2.43
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Cathedral has fallen, and the leaders are in prison, held by the United Federation of the Deaf & Deafened (UFDD) to explain their actions and face justice for their crimes. Told through interview transcripts, we learn how the UFDD mobilised when Cathedral’s Samaritans began attacking their members. We re-meet the leading players from the series and get their stories, not their actions during The Quiet Apocalypse series but what happened before, the families lost during the MGU virus, and the abuses and dangers they faced before finding Cathedral.
Some books are hard to write reviews for, and Tribunal is one of them because it is the last book in an outstanding series that has blown me away from page 1. All good things must end, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Key players from the series give statements about the time before or after they appeared in the series. So, for example, we find out what happened to Christopher in A Quiet Apocalypse, the first book, the abuse and trauma he faced after he was taken to Cathedral, and what happened to Alice from Cathedral before she came to Cathedral. While the hearing differentiates Christopher and Alice as victim and abuser, Alice’s story presents her as a victim too and warns of what can happen if trauma is left too long without wholesome healing. Without spoiling Tribunal for you, Alice’s story broke my heart, and I can’t imagine facing what she went through.
Jeffrey’s style is perfect for horror. He gives us details of the worst humanity can inflict on each other in the most down-to-earth fashion; it’s truly chilling. His preference for simple language takes us straight to the characters’ hearts and leaves us emotionally exhausted. That’s not to say we side with the ‘abusers’, but we can empathise with the trauma they have faced. The ‘abusers’ are as broken as their ‘victims’. The way the story is constructed gives the impression this is a real-life report with further reading and references to other works, witness testimonies and statements, tribunal panellist biographies and reflective statements. Jeffery’s previous experience as a mental health professional has helped create a chilling realistic, and brutal account.
The A Quiet Apocalypse series is about the importance of the self in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and prejudice. Without taking care of the individual, the other needs, such as warmth, shelter, and food, are only a plaster for a person’s emotional wounds. When that happens, the ugliness of prejudice can creep in as others are blamed for the individual’s position as the truth that there’s no rhyme or reason to catastrophic events is too big and painful to come to accept. Tribunal is a powerful and emotional ending to a powerful series that explores all aspects of human nature during a catastrophe, from the best to the worst. I can’t praise Tribunal enough. Highly recommended.