Sorry for the unscheduled hiatus I had for the past 12 days. I came down with the flu and it was not a fun time. Pair that with reading one book that’s close to 500 pages and another book that the pacing was shit, well you get my drift. I am back!
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
You can find this review and all of my others over at www.readbookrepeat.wordpress.com
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Flame Tree Press, and the author via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 2.5
Don’t read the book, you’ve been warned. Whether you take this warning to be anything but a hokey gimmick is up to you though, Jesse sure didn’t take it seriously. After reading a strange book on a friends recommendation, Jesse Wheeler thinks nothing of the warnings that are printed in the front of the book, he soon finds himself the victim of some strange, sick and twisted scheme which he believes to be the work of his old band mates. He had just finished playing a reunion show with them and was on his way home when the whole thing started. He finds himself stuck in a game of cat and mouse, and he is definitely the mouse. What is the point of all this? Is it just a prank? WHAT IS GOING ON?! You’ll have to finish the book to find out, but remember, you’ve been warned.
So I was really excited when I read the blurb for this book. It has such an interesting premise and sounded SO intriguing. We’re told about a book from the dark web that warns people not to read it, I mean, come on, if it’s in the horror genre, it has a creepy book in it that gives me vibes like ‘The Ring’, and it has reference to the dark web? Well my curiosity is just too big of a beast to pass it up. As I read this book though, I realised something…the book in the book (hahahaha) is only mentioned a handful of times…and the dark web isn’t mentioned at all?? I found this incredibly strange, as it actually mentions these things in the blurb of the book. So that kind of threw me a bit.
The beginning of the story is strong, and it draw the reader in quite effortlessly. However, things start to become quite garbled as we journey further into this story of personal terror for Jesse Wheeler. By the time I hit the 40% mark, I found the pacing to be severely lacking, the story just didn’t seem to be moving anywhere at all. It also seemed to have become a bit jumbled and a tad confusing, whether this was actually the point or not of the author, I’m honestly not sure. If that was Kirk’s intention, by golly you did a fantastic job, if it wasn’t the intention, maybe another round of beta readers and editing may fix it up. There was one part there that I have to admit, I skimmed through. There is a portion where our protagonist, the ex-rock and roll star, finds his head trapped in a device that forces him to listen to an educational spiel of sorts, about some experiments. At first I found it interesting, then I realised that it just kept going, and going, and going, and going…and you get the point. I skimmed through it because it became absolutely boring to me. Now I’m big into science, I LOVE to hear about freaky things to DO with science as well, but this I just found tedious. Maybe if this section was about a quarter of the size it’d be much better. I was also worried that by skimming this portion, I’d be missing out on something I’d need later, and while some things were mentioned again, I found that I managed perfectly fine with the small portion that I DID read. So it just seemed long winded and unnecessary to me.
I didn’t mind Jesse as a protagonist. He whines a lot, but I suppose he feels he’s been given a hard shot at life. He had dreams of grandeur, he was going to be a massive rock star, then when he was drunk one night, his son was injured from falling out of his cot and that ended any and all dreams that Jesse once had. He doesn’t quite take responsibility for his own actions, and he gets down on himself a lot. He feels guilty basically all of the time because he doesn’t want to be where he currently is in life, but feels that he owes it to whoever because of the shit that he did when he WAS a rising rock star. It just seems like one giant cycle that keeps on going forever. All in all though, he was written well, had some depth and was likeable enough, though I wish he’d grow up and stop blaming everyone else for the problems he caused himself. And maybe he should go and talk to someone about his inner feelings. See? I’m talking about him like he’s a real person who can actually do these things, so he must be written well.
The secondary characters were supportive enough, Malia was obviously written the best to me because she was the star supporting character and we encounter her the most out of all the others. I liked the way they all interacted.
The story itself. As said above, the pacing drops of around the 30-40% mark, and I very nearly DNF’d this book, but I just couldn’t, I really needed to know what the whole purpose of what was happening to Jesse was. So that is definitely props to this author because they made me keep reading even when my attention was not kept enthralled by the story. It was the need to know what happens at the end that kept me going. It was written well enough, at times I felt the structure of some sentences as the story progressed a bit strange. There wasn’t really any flow to them after a while, and it felt very stilted. There is a definite creep factor to the content, that’s for sure. A feeling of being trapped and helpless that I feel Kirk portrayed quite well. I just feel like it needed another round of readers and editing to make it shine. The ending didn’t disappoint that much, it made sense, but I feel like there was too much energy spent on breaking the 4th wall, rather than just writing a damn good horror story that makes you jump at the slightest of sounds. This had massive potential to be a killer horror story, but I feel like it’s not quite there yet.
If you like horror, give it a shot and see what you think. The pace does pick up again around the 60% mark, so just try to stick with it. I absolutely flew through the last third of the book.