The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz | Review

About The Book

 
Available in hardback, paperback, e-book and audio worldwide.
 
Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’ most brilliant and horrible creation. The Dark Game.
 
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.
End
 
A Note From the Publisher

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows "the best horror novel of 2012." The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, "reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub's Ghost Story

Since then Jonathan's work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Bryan Smith, and Ronald Kelly. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species, and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, Jonathan Janz's Shadow Side

His novel Children of the Dark received a starred review in Booklist and was chosen by their board as one of the Top Ten Horror Books of the Year (August 2015-September 2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German and has been championed by the Library Journal, the School Library Journal, and Cemetery Dance. In early 2017, his novel Exorcist Falls was released to critical acclaim. 

Jonathan's primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author's wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Janz at www.jonathanjanz.com.
 
Janz' backlist of eight titles is re-published this year by FLAME TREE PRESS.
 

My Thoughts

Twisty & Dark Horror

“The Dark Game” was a departure from my usual genres of choice and I found this offering from the author, Jonathan Janz, a difficult book to put down once I’d started reading it.

The premise of a group of authors unwittingly being entered into a twisted game against each other and simultaneously being confronted by their own past demons held a real appeal for me. Brilliantly drawn by Janz, the reader is given several engaging story-lines, creating ten very unique and winsome characters each with their individual voice and personality. I thought the writing was exceptional and I managed to keep up with all of the different characters.

A creepy mansion in the middle of the woods was a perfect setting for this scary horror, complete with eerie basements and spooky corridors.

Every one of the writers’ histories was nightmares all of their own, centring, as they did, around personal traumas or unpleasant events.

The claustrophobic atmosphere and the wicked horror really complemented this alarming and frightening tale. I admired that Jonathan Janz very cleverly kept a great awareness for continuity in his story. The elements of terror and underlying layers of fear were very well executed, culminating in what I thought was an extremely fulfilling ending.

I would highly recommend “ The Dark Game” to readers of the genre or to anyone who fancies a bit of a change. Jonathan Janz is high on my list of newly discovered authors for this year.

Thank you to NetGalley, Flame Tree Press and Jonathan Janz,  for my ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Hardcover: 352 Pages

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

ISBN-10: 178758187X

ISBN-13: 9781787581876

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

Advertisements

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain | Review

Book Synopsis

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CONFESSION AND CO-WRITER OF RTE ONE’S TAKEN DOWN

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

The new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Confession, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.

Advance Praise

See what everyone is saying about Jo Spain, the hottest new name in psychological thrillers:

‘Enthralling’ JP Delaney

‘Chilling’ Sunday Times

‘Arresting’ Sunday Express

‘Brilliant’ BA Paris

‘Gripping’ Best

‘Compulsive’ Sunday Mirror

‘Addictive’ Michelle Frances

‘Refreshing’ Express

My Thoughts

I was very keen to read “Dirty Little Secrets” by Jo Spain as I have never read anything by this author before, despite having heard about some of her work and thought I would take this opportunity to do just that. As someone who enjoys a great thriller, I’m always on the lookout for new authors, to me anyway, in this genre!

This fascinating psychological thriller takes the notion of a country manor house style mystery with a closed setting and therefore few potential perpetrators and moves it to a present-day Irish gated community. I felt, from a nostalgic point of view, that it was reminiscent of a Midsomer Murders scenario.

In the novel, there was no lack of possible motive such as perversion, intrigue or, of course, adultery. Jo Spain has written this novel with chapters alternating between each of the characters who are suspected of being involved in Olive’s passing, and of Olive herself who showed her true colours as the story continued. I absolutely delighted in this dark, conversational insight into living within a gated community. 

This is a fast-paced, well-written book with some very intriguing, though not particularly likeable characters that I would expect to find in a good thriller. I don’t think I liked any of the characters at all, apart from the police double act, Frank and Emma and their humorous rapport, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment of reading “Dirty Little Secrets.”

It was easy to read with an absorbing plot that kept my interest throughout, with a fulfilling conclusion that I didn’t predict. It was a thoroughly entertaining novel and well worth reading. I enjoyed “Dirty Little Secrets” so much and I’m hoping to read Jo Spain’s ‘Inspector Tom Reynolds’ series soon. 

For me, this is a highly recommended and well deserved 2019 winner for Jo Spain!

Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author, Jo Spain, for my free ARC of Dirty Little Secrets in exchange for an honest review.

[#NetGalley #DirtyLittleSecrets]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor | Review

Book Synopsis

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear? 

Zaffre’s biggest breakout thriller of 2019.

One in 100 of us is what the police call a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family. 

Set over a long, dark winter in London and perfect for fans of HE SAID/SHE SAID and Belinda Bauer, THE DANGEROUS KIND is at once a gripping thriller and a stunning portrayal of the monsters that live among us.

Advance Praise

‘Searingly relevant’ Gillian McAllister

‘An absolute triumph’ Holly Seddon

‘Originality oozing off every page’ Eva Dolan

‘Clever, unpredictable and beautifully done’ Liz Loves Books

‘Absolutely brilliant . . . a sophisticated, smart engaging thriller’ Jo Spain

‘Dark, disturbing, devilishly plotted’ Chris Whitaker

‘Urgent, relevant and completely unputdownable’ Martyn Waites

‘Dark and unpredictable’ Jenny Quintana

‘Brilliantly compelling’  T. M. Logan

‘A powerful, timely and unnerving thriller’ David Jackson 

Pages: Approx. 448

Publishers: Bonnier Zaffre

Date Published: 11th April 2019

Buy your copy now from:

Amazon | Waterstones

My Review

If I had to describe The Dangerous Kind in three words they would be harrowing, disturbing and frightening in more or less equal measures. It’s pretty much what I would expect from a thriller set in today’s modern society. But wow, what stunning, well-thought-out masterpiece!

After having read The Dangerous Kind, I feel that I am completely indebted to Deborah O’Connor! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, the fear, the utter desperation and failure.

The title of the book is derived from a police classification of a ‘Potentially Dangerous Person’ (PDP) who is someone that has not been convicted of an offence but whose behaviour indicates that they are likely to commit one.

Set during the winter-time and spanning a period of ten-plus years, the book is told from different time periods and aspects, the first one being Jessamine Gooch, as well as Rowena and also Jitesh. Deborah O’Connor has drawn a great character in Jessamine, a former journalist now working at the BBC and hosting a long-running true crime radio series, ‘Potentially Dangerous People’. In addition, she volunteers at a helpline for victims of domestic violence and is the mother of her teenage daughter, all the while trying to cope with the various difficulties she has going on in her life.

Equally noteworthy is Deborah O’Connor’s portrayal of Rowena. Her heart-breaking story is told as sensitively as possible but her vulnerability and the level of her abuse she suffered, though implicit, is nevertheless exceptionally sorrowful to read and plays a central role to the unfolding drama.

Jitesh’s character has also been brilliantly drawn by the author, Deborah. A student who has been given an unconditional offer to join Cambridge University, he has decided to take a year out and work as an IT intern. However, even as a young adult, he has already suffered many of life’s difficulties, although he possesses a moral strength that left me no choice but to feel an enormous amount of empathy with him.

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me and it was a little like being on a roller-coaster, with someone shouting “Do you want to go faster?” However, it was extremely worthwhile even though many of the subjects touched upon are so abhorrent. 

Deborah O’Connor was very brave to write about such a disturbing and unsettling subject matter like child prostitution. She impressively managed to do so with great sensitivity, thus making the story a little more palatable than it could have been. The story-line was masterfully crafted and showed originality. The separate stories were so superbly interconnected, making the novel fantastically compelling, all culminating in a thrilling and fulfilling ending.  

I cannot recommend this book enough and I feel so inspired enough by Deborah O’Connor’s writing ability to order another of her novels – ‘My Husband’s Son.’ 

Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffire Publishing and the author, Deborah O’Connor, for my free ARC of The Dangerous Kind in exchange for an honest review.

My thanks also to Pigeonhole as I participated in their group read which was in stave format and was able to share my thoughts and comments with other readers.

#NetGalley #TheDangerousKind

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The First Cut (Doctors of Darkness, #3)

The First Cut by Ellery A. Kane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“The First Cut” is actually the third book in a series called the ‘Doctors of Darkness’, the first book being ‘Daddy Darkest’ and the second is ‘The Hanging Tree’. I don’t think this made much difference to my immense enjoyment of the book as plenty of back-story was provided.

‘Love Doctors’ Ian and Kate Culpepper are brutally murdered in their Carmel mansion on Valentine’s Day. To Ava, its fate because Ian left her for the perfect Kate four years ago. Then they made their home close to Ava, complete with their perfect house and their perfect daughter and their matching perfect smiles. It’s no wonder that Ava can’t stop watching or that she can’t let go… 

However, Ian is far from perfect, and Ava owes a debt too, for when they were together, they did an unforgivable thing – a dark deed that severed their marriage in two. Ava’s name is found inked in blood at the crime scene and someone knows what she’s hiding…

Ellery Kane has a very unique writing style that is perfect for this psychological thriller. Many of the characters, especially Ava, were so complex that, at first, it wasn’t easy to work out exactly how they contributed to the story. Eventually, as different aspects of the story were revealed, it all started to come together. This, though, is the foundation for a fantastic psychological thriller.

Overall, “The First Cut” is a sensational and thrilling read with lots of nail-biting and alarming moments that culminate in a fulfilling conclusion.

[Thanks to Hidden Gems and the author Ellery Kane for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.]






View all my reviews

Two Months and Three Days (Sinister Romance, #1)

Two Months and Three Days by Tatiana Vedenska

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Two Months and Three Days” is an unusual combination of a romance and a detective story. It is one of the best contemporary romance books that I have read in a while.

It is the first in a trilogy of books by Tatiana Vedenska that was originally published in Russian under the pen-name of Alisa Klever. A complete best-selling contemporary romance series in Russia, the trilogy very loosely adapts ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E.L. James. For me, Tatiana Vedenska is in a league of her own with her individual style of writing, and steamy sex scenes!

This, the opening book of the #SinisterRomance series is a steamy, sensual and emotional read. It is a wonderful tale of a spoiled billionaire and an ordinary student that explores themes such as family bonds, experience and relationships, as well as happiness, belonging and naivety.

This English translation is nicely done and keeps the moments of humour and spicy sex scenes that make “Two Months and Three Days” such a fulfilling and enjoyable read.

{Thank you to NetGalley, LitHunters and Tatiana Vedenska for a free copy and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}



View all my reviews