Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk

This was… a weird book that delivered on the horror but left me wondering what the fuck did I just read? 

About the Book

Publisher: Flame Tree Press  |  Release Date: March 14, 2019  |  Pages: 288
Genre: Adult, Horror  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk coverYou don’t read the book. It reads you.

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler–former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead–was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.

The legend is real–and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.

By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.

The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end. That’s when the evil comes for you.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

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My Review

“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!

The book is told in the point of view of our main character Jesse, whose hindsight and sense of foreboding oozes off of the page. I am a sucker for stories that are kind of told in the past tense, “don’t make the same mistakes as I did” perspective. Jesse and his friends are playing a reunion gig for their band in a bar as the book opens up, the first time in ten years that the band has played. We learn that while Jesse cleaned up his alcoholic rockstar life, his friends Solomon and Caspian are still living it up. The clean, married life he has lived as atonement for a dark secret from the days when he got blackout drunk is in stark contrast to the life of his friends, and a cause of tension between him and Caspian.

The narrative voice quickly descended into a gross, sexist, and misogynistic place. All of the characters are kind of horrible. From “friends” goading a recovering alcoholic into drinking to talking about his friend screwing “anything with a hole” in the parking lot, I quickly found myself wondering if this interesting story would be for me. Because of my disliking essentially everyone, even the narrator, I struggled quite a bit for the first three and a half chapters of the book. But then the horror started, things got spooky… and very weird.

“This is no joke. And you’re the one who made a mistake, not us. You’re the one who asked for this. Now you have it. Now it’s here. The only question is how the story ends for you. Because it’s only just begun.”

There’s no real way to write this review without spoiling the book. Jesse’s secret is the key to the personalized horror that he experiences during the course of this book, and I definitely appreciated the journey and character development that Jesse undergoes through the course of this night. By the end, I was rooting for him.

“Bury who I used to be.”

Unfortunately, I found the narrative a bit difficult to follow after the accident (when the spooky stuff starts to happen). I have so many notes on my eARC that is some iteration of “WTF am I reading?!” that looking back now makes me laugh. The story that Kirk has crafted is very complex and it is obvious that he is trying to make a statement about humanity and redemption, but it wasn’t executed very well in my opinion. It’s possible that the book is going through so additional edits before final publication, so perhaps the plotting will be tighter and easier to follow

Overall this was an interesting and eclectic horror read, if not incredibly bizarre. I am actually really interested in the overarching story of OBSIDEO and actually found myself most engaged with that mystery. This is a fast-paced and action-packed read that delivers on the horror, but I found it difficult to follow the overall story. While I am still not sure what precisely happened at the end of the book, I really liked the redemption of the unlikable (to me) main character and the underlying conversations on the philosophy of being. I just wish I had a sense of understanding when I read the final pages.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication.

Content warnings: alcoholism, sexism, gore, violence, loss of a loved one


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

19 Comments

  1. Jordyn

    March 7, 2019 at 10:03 AM

    What an interesting book! I always love books that leave me thinking about them long after I finish… but maybe not so much if it’s caused by lack of understanding? Will be very interested to see other thoughts on it when it comes out!

  2. readbydev

    March 7, 2019 at 10:17 AM

    Omg this is like the horror movie with Frankie Muniz, Stay Alive. I’m here for reading a book like this. 😬

  3. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    March 7, 2019 at 1:02 PM

    Amazing review! I’m hoping to make some more progress in this one tonight, and I haven’t met the infamous 3.5-chapter mark you mentioned, so I’ll be sure to text you my thoughts!! ♥

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 8, 2019 at 8:18 AM

      Thank you so much, Destiny! I hope this book works a bit better for you than it did for me, and if so maybe you can explain to me what exactly happened lol.

  4. Tammy

    March 7, 2019 at 5:32 PM

    This sounds so unique, and I’ve read other reviews that are very similar to yours, so you’re not alone!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 8, 2019 at 8:25 AM

      OH THAT MAKES ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER! I thought I missed something! I really love philosophy and even identified the theories referenced in the book but uh, ya girl still is kind of in the dark on everything.

  5. Catarina @ Pages & Plots

    March 8, 2019 at 8:09 AM

    I ended up not being able to finish this one, guess it just wasn’t for me 🙈

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 8, 2019 at 8:34 AM

      I was going to message you to see how you were doing with the book but then I got distracted, sorry!
      I’m sorry you weren’t able to finish this one, but I get it. I think without the philosophical undercurrent I would have had a tougher time finishing.

      1. Catarina @ Pages & Plots

        March 9, 2019 at 1:54 AM

        I’m more into supernatural horror, and that’s what I was expecting from the book from the synopsis. Then the book wasn’t mentioned again and it was just plain weird. But I’m happy you ended up enjoying it a bit!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          March 11, 2019 at 10:59 AM

          Just plain weird sums it up. The book does play a bigger role as the plot progresses, but overall I am still a little 😕 about it

  6. Michelle

    March 8, 2019 at 11:26 AM

    I was superintrigued at the start of this review but then you explained about how it gets all confusing and I don’t want that :’) I’m quickly confused anyway so I don’t think this is for me. Thanks for preventing me turning into a confused young adult (..as far as I could get more confused)

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 11, 2019 at 10:57 AM

      You’re welcome, Michelle! I think this book has it’s audience for sure… and hopefully the finished version will be a little tighter/easier to follow. It”s a bummer because the premise was really cool.

  7. waytoofantasy

    March 8, 2019 at 1:24 PM

    Great review. Sounds like it was a bit of a muddled book at times but glad you enjoyed the redemption arc. I do love a good redemption arc myself.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 11, 2019 at 10:58 AM

      Redemption arcs are some of my favorite to read, haha! Thanks for reading!

  8. TheCaffeinatedReader

    March 9, 2019 at 1:44 PM

    I wasn’t sure what sort of review I was going to read, but, I feel like you made this a really helpful review, instead of being like ‘idk what happened, good luck peeps’ you gave us a more in-depth look! I’m not sure I’ll read this but I love that the character had a lot of development so that’s great, sorry it was such a weird read though!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 11, 2019 at 11:01 AM

      Oh gosh, thank you so much — I am glad the review was helpful! This was a rough one to review because while I liked the book, I am still confused about what even happened. REDEMPTION ARCS ARE THE BEST!

  9. Norrie

    March 15, 2019 at 8:09 AM

    Hmm… it does sound interesting, but i also understand the weirdness.
    I don’t particularly enjoy stories where i’m supposed to think the characters are cool, but they are just basically oblivious assholes. I prefer my villains knowing and admitting they are bad 😀 Or at least have a “rational” explanation to all their bad stuff.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 18, 2019 at 3:26 PM

      I also enjoy unapologetic villains! I think that is why I love Disney villains so much? plus having the backstory to “justify” always is more interesting to me personally. I liked the MC’s arc in the book but boy, was this weird. lol

  10. Will Haunt You — Brian Kirk – howling libraries

    March 15, 2019 at 12:01 PM

    […] their ways. (Screw it, I’ll write my own thoughts, but first, check out Cassie’s and Kal’s reviews — I adore these women to bits and they both said it all so much better than I could […]

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