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.by Jonathan Janz
Published by Sinister Grin Press on March 15, 2016
Genres: Creature Feature, Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Supernatural
Buy on Amazon
Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.
Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.
And very few of them will escape with their lives.
Author Jonathan Janz continues to amaze me with his “growth” in writing style, as shown in each successive book he pens. While CHILDREN OF THE DARK is a prequel of events leading up to his five-part novel, SAVAGE SPECIES, it has its own completely distinctive “feel”. Janz has shown his versatility in his array of story lines and characters all along. CHILDREN OF THE DARK is definitely a horror novel, but also very much a “coming-of-age” tale, in the vein of Robert McCammon’s BOY’S LIFE.
I have always been impressed with the depth of this author’s characterization. Wether dealing with a large cast of main characters, or those with shorter–but no less important–roles, I find it very easy to see the individual identity of each. These “people” are not two-dimensional stereotypes, but complex personalities. In one case, Will Burgess is internally giving us his views on the motivating force guiding one of his neighbors: “…I think it was the fragility of life that compelled . . . to volunteer, to get the little ones to understand that it wasn’t worth it to take chances.”
This story stands out in so many ways, but especially in how we go through the process of growing up–maturing–along with Will and his friends. Unfortunately, real life lessons are often unpleasant, and unfair to so many people for a variety of reasons.
“Why . . . did sweet little people . . . have to feel such terrible things? Why did such a good-hearted, loving girl get treated like dirt?”
CHILDREN OF THE DARK touched on so many subjects, on all levels. This novel really showcases Janz’ talent in writing–not just the horrific elements–but the more emotional, sensitive issues as well. He’s not afraid to look beyond the facade of what most people see and judge others by, and show us what’s REALLY behind the curtain. Rich or poor, addict or law-enforcer–everybody has a side hidden from public view.
I always look forward to a new Jonathan Janz book, and once again, he’s raised the bar to new heights.