Written by: Wesley Thomas
A triumphant explosion of torture, terror, and unexpected twists.
This book doesn’t waste any time and sucks the reader into a vortex within the first few pages. You are presented with a line of characters that have all suffered from immense levels of trauma, and are being approached one by one by two strange men. These men claim to be handing out a million bucks to the person who can survive a haunted house, in order for their fear to be studied. Allegedly, this will be used to prevent fear in others, by observing how these individuals, who know despair all too well, react to it.
The suspense really starts to build when the terrifying history of the house is unleashed. A sinister list of deranged individuals have inhabited this house at one time or another, people you wouldn’t want to run into, either in the flesh, or as ghosts.
I loved the speedy pace at the opening of the novel presenting characters, hinting the chaos they have endured, but not dragging it out. Giving you the essential back story needed, but not bogging us down with it. The story is written in a very brief and to the point way, which gives the story a superb flow and beautiful momentum. Albeit the quickness does relent in points of tension, where the life of a character hangs in the balance.
The description is unique, it provides the fountain, but the rest is allowed to be created to the reader’s wish. Giving them free reign to make it as shocking and spooky as they like.
The characters are the most random combination of people you could think of. Ranging from a biologist, hooker, cop, disabled couple, and frighteningly trained family. Not to mention the antagonists, all of which are equally intimidating and alarming. Each protagonist finds themselves battling the enemy that they once upon a time faced in their own version of hell. In order to survive, and get this money, they must confront their worst nightmares come to life. But as the house is supposedly haunted by nothing more than incorporeal ghosts, who can’t touch or hurt anyone, just scare them, should they really be that scared? Yet when these ghouls start to appear, the victims are troubled to see that they somehow have the ability to touch, slice, and dice, but when shot with bullets, they remain unharmed, determined to kill.
This horrifies the reader, picturing such pandemonium, you can’t defend yourself from their relentless stabbing and hacking, and as these entities are bulletproof, all you can do is run. But you can’t escape as armed guards are blocking the exit, leaving you no choice but to run until they ultimately catch you. Inflicting mindless, excruciating pain.
This is hands down, the scariest I have yet to have the pleasure of reading. The writer adapted scare tactics commonly used in horror movies to make the audience jump. But this book proved these tricks are just as effective when reading, if not more so, as your brain can concoct a much more disturbing and horrifying image than a makeup team can. You jump, get chills, are disgusted, and your adrenaline is pumping overtime. By the end of the novel you’ll feel exhausted, violated, but ultimately satisfied and honoured to have read such a gem in the world of horror fiction.
The best part? You don’t have to mourn, as readers often do, having been taking on an intimate journey that comes to an end, because there is more to come!
You can read about each characters individual turmoil, that led them to being selected for this fear test. Or you can carry on the journey in Jack Kilborn’s upcoming releases!
This is one for the real scare addicts among us, I do not recommend you read this.
Instead, I challenge you, horror fan, to endure this.