Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz

(Last Updated On: June 19, 2019)

This is terrifying and I loved every minute of it.

About the Book

Publisher: Sinister Grin Press  |  Release Date: March 15, 2016  |  Pages: 293
Genre: Adult, Horror  |  Format: eBook  |  Source: Purchased

Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.

Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.

And very few of them will escape with their lives. 

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My Review

Friends, Jonathan Janz has done it again! Er, or whatever you would call it since this was published back in 2016. After reading and loving The Siren and the Specter, I had to read more from this author and picked this up on a whim (sorry, TBR). I have been in a bit of a horror kick lately and am so glad that I have found Janz’s work!

“The week I saw seventeen people die didn’t begin with blood, monsters, or a sadistic serial killer. It all began with a baseball game. Looking back, I wonder if things would have been different had we lost that night.”

Children of the Dark is a frightening tale of supernatural and murderous horrors. Our main character and narrator is 16-year-old Will, and the book opens with the lines above to set the literary stage perfectly. The reader knows straight from the beginning this is going to be an intense story that not many people will survive. Awesome hook and I was sucked in immediately.

I honestly don’t know what possessed me to read this at night given how creepy Siren and the Specter was. This book also delivers a pile of nope and led me to sleep with the lights on. I’M AN ADULT. Anyways. The characters are teenagers but the scenarios that they are in would terrify any adult. The plot very much reads like an adult novel, which is interestingly juxtaposed with the high school drama and tension between cliques. I appreciated the way the various characters reacted to the horrors that they faced. I simply adored Peach and the devotion that she and Will have towards one another — also, no six-year-old should be as badass as her. I think she is my favorite.

“God, with the Children and the Moonlight Killer both on the loose, who knows how many people could die?”

There are two horrors terrorizing Shadeland: a renowned serial killer has escaped prison and there are some creepy monsters in the woods with glowing green eyes. There was this one scene about 48% in where I was so creeped out that I had to put the book down for fear that I would never be able to sleep again; Janz has a way of describing things with such haunting detail and builds tension that the entire reading experience you are chewing on your nails. Luckily he is also a master of wit, using his narrator’s humor for comedic relief. I enjoy the combination of “real life” horror with supernatural horror that Janz weaves in his stories. Unfortunately, I am really sick of the bumbling local policemen trope and wish it hadn’t been used here. I saw no real reason for the animosity the local police had for Will and their apathy really annoyed me.

I will admit that I guessed the big twists early on, but while sometimes that angers me it didn’t bother me too much here. I can definitely see how Janz has grown as a writer in the past two years; while this is well thought out and terrifying, I found Siren and the Specter to be better executed even though this book is fantastic.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to fans of the horror genre! It is a creepy monster book full of local legend and a serial killer on the loose. Honestly though, how do I get my hands on the series because it seems to be not in print?! Because I have some freaking questions here. And once you get sucked into the world… here are the details for more from the author himself!

content warnings: abandonment, spousal abuse, murder, death, gore.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!



  1. facingthestory

    October 14, 2018 at 9:12 AM

    Oh, this looks spooky and wonderful! I haven’t read anything by this author before but now you’ve peaked my interest. Very well written review!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 15, 2018 at 8:21 PM

      Thank you so much, and I highly recommend this book or Siren and the Specter! Both are wonderful and so spooky!

  2. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    October 14, 2018 at 12:20 PM

    Ooh I like the sound of this! Horror books don’t tend to scare me, but this sounds deliciously creepy. And it reminds me a little of Until Dawn, except with more likeable characters maybe. I’ll definitely give it a shot 😀

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 15, 2018 at 8:29 PM

      It is so good! And I struggle to be creeped out but Janz manages to write suspensefully and creepily. I definitely recommend this or SIREN.

  3. Lindsi

    October 14, 2018 at 1:44 PM

    This is the time of the year for horror stories! I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but love reading people’s reviews on the twisted and horrifying books they find. This one sounds really creepy! I’m all for the spooky and supernatural reads, which I save for fall, and they don’t give me nightmares or make check the locks on my windows.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 15, 2018 at 8:30 PM

      This is definitely the time of the year that I love getting all cozy with spooky/horror/thriller books! This book is definitely creepy and I really enjoyed it!

  4. Olivia-Savannah

    October 15, 2018 at 4:37 AM

    You know the book is good when it means that you need to sleep with the light on! I have to admit that horror is a genre I only discovered this year and I am actually really enjoying it 😀 Looking forward to checking out this author more and great review. I hopped over from Discord and am following you on Twitter, Bloglovin and Goodreads now x

    My recent post:

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 15, 2018 at 8:31 PM

      Welcome, Olivia-Savannah! I don’t scare easily but this author is good at building suspense and coming up with nightmare fuel of creatures! Up until this year I didn’t really read horror but I have always loved watching horror films… surprised it took me so long!

  5. The Fall Reading Book Tag – Another Book in the Wall

    October 15, 2018 at 5:01 AM

    […] Kaleena | Scrill | Kathy | Alana | Deborah | Elise | Orangutan Librarian | Holly | Ashleigh | Inge | Dani | Vicky […]

  6. veeshee

    October 16, 2018 at 7:24 AM

    Wow! So this was …. an amazing review … and now I need to go and get my hands on this book/series!!!
    So is this the first book? I know you mentioned it was a prequel but would it be better to read the other books first before this one? If so, which should I start with!
    Please help me by adding more books to my never-ending TBR list haha

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 17, 2018 at 8:46 AM


      I would definitely recommend starting with this one. I chatted with the author on Twitter and the Savage Species series is loosely related, and is being re-released in January 2019 by Flametree Press. AND there will be a sequel to this book hopefully by the end of 2019 as well! I hope you enjoy it, please let me know what you think!

      1. veeshee

        October 17, 2018 at 8:49 AM

        Woah that’s awesome news! So this means I can read this one right away without missing any information?

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          October 17, 2018 at 8:59 AM

          Yup absolutely! It ends a little bit on the “OMG I NEED MORE NOW WTF” but it’s the best place to begin!

          1. veeshee

            October 17, 2018 at 9:01 AM

            Haha awesome! I can’t wait to start!

  7. September in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 1, 2018 at 9:35 AM

    […] Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz: I picked this up after falling in love with The Siren and the Specter, and boy was I not disappointed! This is a creepy monster book full with local legend and a serial killer on the loose that I absolutely devoured in one sitting. With all the lights on. [Full Review] […]

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