Friday, December 23, 2016

Children of the Dark - Jonathan Janz - Well-crafted creature horror

5 of 5 Stars

Children of the Dark is one of the most talked about horror books of 2016.  I just had to see what the fuss was about for myself.  Wow.  This is one time where all of the hype was dead on.

How's this for an opening line?  The week I saw seventeen people die didn't begin with blood, monsters, or a sadistic serial killer.  And things just got better from there.

Will, Chris, and Barley.  Best friends for life. Chiildren of the Dark begins like a typical coming of age novel. Teenage boys discovering teenage girls. Bullies making life difficult.  But, there comes a point when things turn dreadfully dark. Nearly everyone I talked to that night wound up dead anyway.

In its heart, this book is cryptid horror at it most effective.  A masterpiece of terror. Tenacious in its pacing, and just when you think things can't get any worse...frying pan, meet fire.

One of the things that makes Children of the Dark so effective was the contrast between having to deal with the somewhat normal circumstances of growing up, no matter how difficult they may be, and then having that turn into an unrelenting nightmare.  The beginning of the story is filled with charming moments, young love, the anecdote about how Barley got his nickname was nothing short of brilliant, and then BAM!

When I was finished reading Children of the Dark I was left feeling emotionally drained.  This is what happens when a reader is fully invested in a story.  It's a sign of great writing and regardless of genre this book is definitely great writing.

Available in both paperback and e-book formats, Children of the Dark, is published by Sinister Grin Press.

From the author's bio - 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."

His 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.

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