I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Black Monkey by Christian H. Smith
Published by Permuted Press on 2015-06-16
Genres: Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Occult & Supernatural, Supernatural, Thrillers
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The children of Bakersfield, Illinois have buried a stuffed monkey in a cornfield every Halloween for decades. The same night that ten-year-old Jess first witnesses the mysterious ritual, his older sister Paula is brutally murdered. Paula is only the first victim of the “Snowman,” a serial killer stalking the children of Bakersfield. Jess believes the monkey ritual is the key to stopping the murders and uncovers the secrets of the century-old tradition. But the black magic of the monkey might be more evil than the killer he has called it up to stop.
THE BLACK MONKEY, by Christian Smith is the first book in the “Bloody Bakersfield” series. Normally first person point of view is a hard sell for me. When utilizing this approach where you get narration based on a sole character’s perspective, the author HAS to make the reader become emotionally invested in this person. I am very pleased to say that Christian Smith pulled this off flawlessly, in my own opinion.
Our main character, who is the voice of the entire story, is ten-year-old Mark. We begin when Mark’s best friend, the charismatic Jess, extends his older brother’s invitation that he and Mark may observe the traditional “burying of the gray monkey” ritual on Halloween. Although none of the participants are quite sure of the origin of this rite, it has been done for as long as anyone can remember.
After this year’s observation, however; things immediately begin to go horribly wrong for the residents of Bakersfield.
We learn through Mark, that his best friend Jess is certain that the tragedies befalling the town have to do with the buried monkey somehow.
The pacing of this novel is simply perfect–the fear and action never seem to let up. In between, the characterization is impressively set. Viewed through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy, we get to know many of the people, their families, and their own individual problems. I cared for each of these people, and could see them vividly in my mind as I read along.
A horrific tale, involving elements of supernatural horror, mystery, and intrigue, this book will keep your mind racing through each and every part. I particularly enjoyed the author’s conclusion to this novel, and couldn’t envision anything else in its place.
A strong, solid read that will take you away to Bakersfield–whether you want to go or not…