The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

TLDR: Deliciously dark and imaginative, ten writers are brought off the grid for a prestigious competition. Little did they know the competition is more than they bargained for and they would fight for their lives. If you are a fan of horror, then you need to pick this one up.


“I learned that stories have incredible power. They can teach. They can transport. But they can also bring misery. They can enslave. Some stories can kill.”

Friends, I have been itching for a new release from Janz since being wowed by The Siren and the Specter last year. I’ve been reading his backlist voraciously and I was so happy to be offered an eARC of this title. I was not disappointed: The Dark Game is deliciously macabre and unputdownable; while I struggled with the multiple perspectives at first, I settled into the narrative and was fully engrossed!

“Wells’s mansion looked like every ghost story he’d ever read. And as they drew closer, Rick couldn’t shake the feeling he was about to become part of one.”

One of my favorite writing devices is when the ending is set up or heavily alluded to at the beginning of the book. I love the sense of foreboding behind every chapter as I try to piece together what is happening, and as a person that adamantly avoids spoilers like a cat avoids water this is one of the greatest mysteries of my psyche. From the beginning of the book we know that The Dark Game is to pit the authors against one another as they fight for their lives. The deaths aren’t a surprise, we are just left wondering who will be first. The journey is following the characters as they notice all the weird things happening and trying to figure it out… and will they make it out alive?

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Shutter by Courtney Alameda

“Nothing monstrous was conquered with a kiss, nor by love. Evil went down by the trigger, overcome with bullets, shutters, blood, and courage.”

After reading and loving Pitch Dark last year, I was excited to check out Alameda’s debut for some more spooky goodness. Friends, while I expected to enjoy Shutter a lot more than I did, it was a creepy and enjoyable read for me. It’s fast-paced and hauntingly atmospheric; Alameda has a way with words that is impossible to ignore. If you are a fan of spooky stories that deliver on the horror with imaginative detail, then keep reading because this book might be for you!

Shutter is told in the third person perspective of Micheline Helsing, the one of the last descendants in the lineage of the Van Helsings, and I honestly was sucked into the book with its opening lines: “Call it a reaper’s insomnia, but the dead wouldn’t let me sleep at night. Everytime the sun went down, I swore I sensed them stirring, starving.” There is something about the writing style that sets an almost noir mood with the words and painting the scene of my mind in black and white.

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Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk

“OBSIDEO. […] ALWAYS WATCHING”

Friends, this was… a weird book. I finished reading it almost 2 weeks ago and honestly I don’t know if I will ever shake the “WTF did I read?” from my brain. This book definitely delivered on the horror, but it is also a strange read.

WARNING I read a book much like the one you’re holding now. And this is what happened to me. Don’t make the same mistake. Please, put it down. Or better yet, throw it away. This is your last warning. Turn the page, and you’re on your own. Actually, that’s not true. Turn the page and he’ll be there, watching you.

The premise of this story is instantly gripping: a book that somehow puts you on the radar of some evil entity? Yes please. I read those opening lines the warning as I was curled up in bed, and legit noped out for something a little less creepy for my nighttime reading – which is always a good sign!

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The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

“It’s worse than creepy in here. Let’s find what we need and get out.”

What a fantastically atmospheric ghost story! I was really excited when the publisher offered me this eARC for my honest review because I love tales of the supernatural even though I am a total skeptic about it. Interestingly enough, my one unexplained ghost experience happened on a ghost tour in the Underground Vaults in Edinburgh, so I was extra excited for this one! While the character’s backstories and initial conversations felt disjointed at first, the story definitely shines with building tension and crafting a truly spooky read.

For those of you that have never walked the streets and closes of Edinburgh, they definitely have a haunting atmosphere to them. Our main character is Hannah, a recent divorcee that’s relocated from England to Edinburgh to as an actor and guide for haunted walking tours of Henderson Close. While Henderson Close itself is fictitious, there are countless walking tours where the guides dress up as people from the past to lead the tours and discuss ghost sightings around the city (I’ve been on one!).

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Witching Hour Theatre by Jonathan Janz

“Because Fridays at midnight, long after the casual moviegoers filed out of the exits, the Starlight Cinema transformed into something dark and perilous. Theater One, the newer half of the Starlight, closed for the night, while the other half, Theater Two—the older, original theater—was plunged into a shadowy world of hauntings and serial killers, werewolves and cannibals, slaughter and mayhem. Witching Hour Theatre. It was the one place he could go and allow his imagination to run rampant.”

Um, excuse me but why doesn’t my town have something like this?! Well, minus the disappearing horror movie patrons and the creepy figure slowly making their way to the front of the theatre. I could do without a night like what our main character Larry Wilson experiences. But honestly this is such a unique, fast paced, and enjoyable read – and you can tell that it is written by a lover of horror films.

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