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review 2020-03-19 05:14
Night Terrors by Jonathan Janz
Night Terrors (Savage Species) - Jonathan Janz

What a mess! This is my first Janz book and I wasn't impressed. It started out bloody great, first chapter was gross and gory and it was awesome! It read like a 80/90s B grade sexist horror movie which is not the issue at all as I'm quite fond of reading about dumb characters, doing dumb things and dying dumb deaths if it is done well. But I didnt like a single one of the dumb stereotypical characters even in a I hate to love you way.


I can pinpoint the part that I lost complete interest, it was when something really really bad had happened to one of the "I thought might be okay" characters, something that had it happened to myself, I would be inconsolable and fighting everyone and everything that stood in my way to fix the bad thing. But this dumb weepy sad character thought to themselves, hey why not flirt with this hot person over here. Because that is what every person would do in that situation!


Anyway so that was the end for me, I did read the rest but my heart wasn't in it and I found myself disliking all the dumb shit characters even more after that.

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review 2019-09-14 19:33
Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road - Jonathan Janz

Demons and serial killers.


I don't find demons to be particularly scary.  This started out pretty much as a retelling of The Exorcist, actually referring to it more than once.  So I was prepared to be totally unimpressed. 


However, it takes a sharp turn into 'holy shit that was unexpected' after the rites are concluded.  


The serial killer part skirted heavily on the edge of unbelievable - how did he think he would get away with it for much longer? but was attention holding.  However, I suppose that something serial killers don't really consider.


And what does happen to demons that have been cast out of their human hosts?



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review 2019-04-16 20:08
The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz
The Dark Game - Jonathan Janz

I have to admit that I had a little struggle with this book because the font on my ARC was so teeny tiny I could only read the story in 20 minute increments before my eyes started to cry and reading became an impossibility. After trying to read it this way for over two weeks I finally gave up and requested an eArc via Netgalley. Thank you Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for the arc’s! The author has confirmed that final copies will have an easier to read font so your eyeballs need not worry.


This is a story about a group of writers who are invited to join in on a game at a creepy old mansion hosted by a creepier old writer. A Dark Game, mwahaha. The winner will receive fame and fortune and all they desire and who doesn’t want that? Everything about this game and its mysterious host is weird and ultra-creepy but the prize is irresistible. The losers? Well, you do not want to lose this game and that’s all I’ll be saying about that . . .


When the story begins it tells the tale of a full cast of characters in alternating chapters and, likely because I was reading it in such short bursts, I had a difficult time keeping track of who was who and whose back story went with who and I kept mixing them all up in my head. I kept hoping a few of them would get killed off fast in order to end some of my confusion. I know, how selfish of me, but it is the truth. I don’t like straining my brain that hard after a long day of life and some of these characters were no good trashy people anyway and no great loss to humanity, if you’re asking me.


I enjoyed this book once the cast was trimmed down a bit, as I knew I would. The whole atmosphere was very well done and I enjoyed learning about the darkness hiding inside most of these characters. Reading about terrible and sordid secrets is my one of my favorite past-times and this book delivered on those. There were lots of nasty surprises to be found and watching the characters get all vicious with each other was a bit of blast!


This is a wild book that really ramps up in its last few acts. If your memory is better than mine and you can handle a large cast of characters, I bet you’re going to fall right into this deliciously evil story and not come up for breath until you finish.

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review 2019-04-11 19:53
The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz
The Dark Game - Jonathan Janz

10 aspiring writers are invited to a writing retreat at the remote mansion of reclusive author and literary giant Roderick Wells, an invitation that will transform one of them into a bestselling author in their own right.
But this bargain turns out to be more Faustian than benevolent......and failing to impress the great Roderick Wells carries a price far darker than any of them can imagine.

Janz spins a nasty little tale of psychological and supernatural horror, with touches of BURNT OFFERINGS that makes one wonder what he has agreed to on his path to becoming one of the powerhouses of contemporary horror.
Someone really needs to keep an eye on this man.

Many thanks to Flame Tree Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Highly recommended.

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review 2019-04-10 22:27
The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz
The Dark Game - Jonathan Janz

In the latest novel from Jonathan Janz, ten authors have been invited to compete in an exclusive retreat at a famous writer's remote estate. The winner gets a golden ticket to literary stardom. The rules are that you can tell no one where you're going and bring no method of communication with you. The last such retreat's winner, many years before, had become an overnight sensation and is still a revered writer.  For these authors, who have a dark secrets in their past, this is too good an opportunity to pass up.


The tone is set as the individual authors arrival is deliberately staggered. They approach the house on foot from the surrounding forest. The house is in disrepair and the welcome isn't what they expect.


I've put in a spoiler screen below, but the back of the book makes it pretty clear that ten writers walking in does not mean ten writers walking out. 'The Dark Game' struck me as a combination of


(spoiler show)


I was surprised there were no references in-text to either title, as there were a few shout-outs to other works and other writers across the Horror/Mystery spectrum. This is the first book I've read by Janz so I can't comment on how this compares to his other work, but this was an effective story - it kept me reading - but I feel like a lot of characterization was thrown out the window in favor of more scares and gore early on. I wanted to tell him that its OK to build up the suspense a little. You have this diverse(ish) group of characters isolated in the middle of the woods, and they are all creative types, and we don't get a lot of what's going on inside their minds.


In addition to the ten writers there are a couple of villains who muhahaha'd a little too hard, too soon so there was little chance of more atmosphere. Some of the best sections of 'Dark Game' were when portions of the author's writing was shared, it allowed nice breaks in the flow of the plot and some better insight into the characters themselves.


I'll definitely check out more Janz and other authors on the Flame Tree Press imprint.

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