Written by: Wesley Thomas
This immediately grabbed my attention like a screaming child begging for an ice cream.
You are presented with a strange opening scene, which you cannot help but be drawn in by.
A man being forced to take his own life, and the motives for this are at that point, a mystery.
This sets up the perfect beginning to a thrilling tale, pulling you into this enthralling enigma.
A group of childhood friends, who named themselves ‘Excellent Eight’, are brought back to their home town after twenty years apart.
They have come to pay their respects to one of the recently deceased members of the childhood group.
The gang, in itself, has many complex and intricate relationships.
Some haven’t spoken in years, others have stayed in touch, and some used to date, so drama is strife within these set of adults.
After the funeral, and a reception, they go back to Colin and Michelle’s house for some drinks and a real catch up.
For some this means idle gossip, for others it means fixing friendships and resolving issues.
The next thing we know, Peter, the focal character, is no longer at Colin’s house, but in a cabin, in the woods, alone.
This is disturbing enough, but when an alarm goes off at the side the bed, which he didn’t remember setting, and then a two further alarms from two separate clocks go off, he begins to worry, as someone clearly wants him awake.
He eventually ends up back at Colin’s after a long walk through the woods, to be faced with an empty house, a horrifying phone call, and a severed body part.
Thus begins our trek!
There is a strong element of ‘whodunnit’ in this read, you are captivated by the characters, plot and story unfolding, but all the while pondering who could be responsible for this.
You have the antagonist, ‘Cero’, who informs Peter that the remaining six members of the original eight, are held hostage and are relying on Peter to save them.
Cero introduces some very unique traps that if not deactivated in time will kill off all six people one by one.
There is a sinister reason behind each trap.
The unknown villain is exploiting childhood trauma, using upsetting and horrifying memories to torment the victims.
But the only people that know about these experiences are the ‘Excellent Eight’.
Which begs the question, is the killer one of the eight?
The protagonist, Peter, is excellently characterised, we feel loss at his misfortunes, and joy when he accomplishes tasks, which sadly is a rarity.
In a journey such as this, it is vital that the reader has a substantial attachment to the main role, you must be connected enough to care about the fate of his life, and whether or not they achieve the goals set out by the adversary.
This is most certainly achieved.
There are a couple of ‘movie’ moments in this read, as I like to call them.
Which I felt very interesting and gave a more vivid picture in my mind.
There was one instance that made me think of the original ‘Prom Night’ starring Jamie-Lee Curtis.
This was by describing one of the locations in a certain manner than instantly made me flashback to the classic horror movie and the block of flats where the children used to play, which is also the case in this adventure.
There is a more obvious resemblance being ‘Saw’, with the main premise of the novel being that people are held captive, but are allowed escape, if the deadline is met.
But there are subtle differences between ‘Hide And Seek’ and the ‘Saw’ franchise.
The writing style of P.S.Brown is impressive, it gives enough detail to paint the picture in your mind, as well as evoke feelings, but it leaves a comfortable amount to the imagination.
Some writers’ descriptions are very specific and intricate, then some give away very little depictions but this is a nice medium between the two extremes of writing technique.
As we careen onwards and Peter begins to lose his patience we really feel his frustration, and isolation.
As he cannot get angry with Cero, as Peter needs clues from him as to his friend’s whereabouts.
But also, he is completely alone in this daunting and mind-numbing expedition.
Another aspect I feel is worth mentioning is the lack of dull areas.
The action is pretty much constant.
Character building, and the establishment of everyone’s history, is neatly knotted into the string of the plot.
There are no stand still pages where it is obvious that the writer feels it is time to establish the characters further, along with back stories.
Flashbacks, and entertaining quips, actually help join each scene by giving it a greater relevance.
In the run up to the end the tension escalates excellently.
Peter is offered the chance to finally meet the antagonist, the wretched person responsible for this whole nightmare.
After what has felt like a lifetime of suffering; saving friends’ lives, and witnessing the demise of others, it seems there could be light at the end of tunnel.
This sends the climax of the book into a superhuman speed, I raced through the chapters eager to find out who was responsible.
The foe that’s behind all the chaos come as a shock.
It gave me a feel of bewilderment, but then I felt great joy in how all the memories mentioned, and the characters, had helped in understanding the enemy and their justifications for the turmoil caused.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this read; the endless suspense, the riveting storylines, the gruesome murders, the cliff hangers, and the final revelation to close the narrative.