Possibly the most succinct opening-line ever. It truly tells you all you need to know about The Dark Game...
"Lucy sat in the back of the limo, blindfolded, unaware she was entering the nightmarish plot of a madman instead of a writer's retreat."
The estate of world-renowned writer, Roderick Wells. Ten aspiring writers in all, there to learn at the feet of a master, and to compete for a two million dollar prize and a chance at immortality.
Sounds good, right? Wrong. Oh, so very wrong. Before long writers are leaving the competition. But are they dropping out on their own, are they being forced to leave, or are they being eliminated permanently?
"Rick realized why no one could find a recent image of Roderick Wells, why he never showed up to accept awards. Because if someone did gaze at the man too long (he’s not a man) it would drive you insane, you’d get lost forever in those murky black tarns, those wells—the aptness of the name slammed into him— and once you sank into those stygian waters, you’d be lost, irretrievable. Jesus God, couldn’t the others see what was happening?"
There are some Easter eggs from Janz's prior works, most notably where the title and subject matter of one of the writers' works is the same as Jonathan's recent novel, The Siren and the Specter. Also, the Jack Ketchum writing advice was spot on.
The line between reality and nightmares blurs more and more as the remaining contestants come to grips with what is really happening. The Dark Game is so twisted, but in the end, it all comes together. Bizarre as it may be.
I'm sure we've all heard authors explain how, often as they write a character will take over the story and will take it in directions the author never intended. Well, The Dark Game is this idea on acid.
Published by Flame Tree Press, The Dark Game is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats.
From the author's bio - Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan's main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.