horror books

Book Review: Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Book Review: Survivor Song by Paul TremblaySurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 7th July 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government's emergency protocols are faltering.

Dr. Ramola "Rams" Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie's husband has been killed—viciously attacked by an infected neighbor—and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie's only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child.

Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares—terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink. 

As Paul Tremblay books go, this one Survivor Song isn’t my favourite. It’s another one of those books that left me wondering what the point of it was. Survivor Song is a story about two women called Rams and Natalie who are trying to get to a medical clinic during a mutated rabies outbreak. Sounds fun, right?

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Book Review: The Shadow Friend by Alex North

Book Review: The Shadow Friend by Alex NorthThe Shadow Friend by Alex North
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

If it had happened to you, you would have run away too.

Twenty-five years ago, Paul's friend Charlie Crabtree brutally killed their classmate - and then vanished without a trace.

Paul's never forgiven himself for his part in what happened. He's never gone back home.

Until his elderly mother has a fall. It's finally time to stop running.

It's not long before things start to go wrong. His mother claims there's someone in the house. Paul realises someone is following him. And, in a town many miles away, a copycat killer has struck.

Which makes him wonder - what really happened to Charlie the day of the murder?

And can anyone stop it happening again?

The Shadow Friend is a slower paced thriller/mystery that managed to keep my attention thanks to the creepy atmosphere. I’d read The Whisper Man by Alex North already, but I don’t think I really got a feel for his writing style until I read The Shadow Friend.

I think Alex North’s strength is his ability to craft such a chilling atmosphere. He perfectly cultivates the creepy local legends, the disturbing teenagers, and the dark and ominous woods in this story and so when it all comes together you’re left with chills. I’ve now realised that this is my favourite thing about his books.

I spoke in my Booktube review of The Shadow Friend that I come from a small town with lots of local legends, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m able to connect with Alex North’s books so much. He perfectly incorporates local legends to his books, and turns them into something disturbing, and yet also very realistic.

The characters are what I would say are Alex North’s weakest point when it comes to writing. His characters are never very memorable, and I never get attached to them. This is often the case with thrillers for me, but it was particularly stand out here as I was loving the rest of the story apart from the characters.

I was expecting more on Charlie Crabtree, to be honest, and less on Paul and his love life. It’s fine as it is, but I would have liked to see more of Crabtree and his creepiness, and also more on Paul’s relationship with his mother if the focus had to be on him so much.

The Shadow Friend is certainly a slower paced thriller, but it’s one that I really enjoyed, and I can’t wait to see what Alex North comes out with in the future. His books are great for Halloween if you want a spine tingling mystery to keep you up!

Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Book Review: Harrow Lake by Kat EllisHarrow Lake by Kat Ellis
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 9th July 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker - she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she's swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she's never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father's most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map - and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there's someone - or something - stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola's got secrets of her own. And if she can't find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

First of all, look at that cover. Is that not the creepiest thing to look at late at night?? I’m glad I read this on my Kindle to be honest. I’ve been trying to read more horror books lately, and so when I saw that Harrow Lake was up on NetGalley I swept it up.

I have to say, the atmosphere of this book is on point. It’s suuuuuper creepy for the first two thirds when you have no idea what’s going on. Lola, the main character, goes to stay in a small town with a grandmother that she barely knows, and is surrounded by rumours of her vanished mother. It’s CREEPY. There are creepy puppets and shadows and noises. I had to stop reading it late into the night because some parts were giving me chills. Kat Ellis pulled the atmosphere off perfectly.

As for the plot, I would say it’s pretty standard for a YA horror. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I definitely did, but it’s not something that I will rave about and I wouldn’t say that the twist(s) were anything spectacular. I was’t necessarily reading this horror book for the twists though, because what I really wanted was to be creeped out and on the edge of my seat because of FEAR.

I did feel a bit disconnected from Lola, especially because she seemed to hate everyone that she came into contact with. While this made sense for her character (and be patient if you don’t necessarily get it in the beginning) it made it quite hard for me to fall in love with the story and her journey.

I think if you’re into classic horror movies then you’ll really enjoy Harrow Lake for the chilling atmosphere and the sleepless nights!