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.
Published by Sinister Grin Press on October 15, 2017
Genres: Crime, Crime/Serial Killer, Dark Fiction, Extreme Horror, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror
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Amber had been looking forward to college life. She loved high school and was certain college would be even better, especially since she pledged one of the sororities on campus. At least that was what she thought, until one night her soul was fractured and darkness awoke within her.
Unable to cope, she returns home hoping to heal. Unfortunately, her hometown is wrought with brutal violence. People are being slaughtered in random fashion. The police are clueless. Despite the surrounding chaos, she is still determined to thrive.
However, when the violence shows up at her front door and rips her life apart, she realizes that the darkness within her is the only thing that will keep her sane and alive.
From the storyteller mastermind David Bernstein, author of Witch Island and A Mixed Bag of Blood, comes one of his most gut-wrenching tales yet. You might not sleep after this one.
EPISODES OF VIOLENCE, by David Bernstein is a fast-paced, violent novel that doesn’t hold anything back! The book introduces us to two different sets of characters, along with their individual situations. The first we meet are Daemon, his girlfriend, Sage, and the “friend-with-the-brain”, Bobby.
“. . . Some individuals enjoyed golf or movies or collecting things. She liked to ruin stuff and watch people’s happiness dwindle . . . “
Bernstein does a fantastic job of showing us the progression this group takes from being the everyday bullies, and how growing into aimless adults, their focus changes. I could honestly feel how this shift could occur so naturally in a small town, where these three friends stay bonded–all the while their rage and violent nature grows. The transition from being the “outcasts” to the “predators” was quite realistic as we went along with them on their journey.
” . . . They were an evolving evil that would grow like a tumor and wreak havoc upon all in their path. This was only the beginning . . . “
I felt this part of the novel showcased some of Bernstein’s strongest work. His characterization here, down to the alliance between the group, was shown off so effectively that there was never any doubt in my mind that they were quite capable of all the graphic scenes and deeds depicted.
And these things are what turned them on.
“. . . The group’s dark side had emerged and it felt good . . . “
When we are switched over to a new character, Amber, it felt as though a switch had been thrown, for me. While interesting enough on its own, I just felt that it paled in comparison to the character build up of our first group, and temporarily slowed the momentum of the book. At this point, I began to predict how the rest of the book might go.
“. . . Taking lives is natural . . . There will always be a variety of people, and all are needed for a society to work, including its killers . . . without good there is no evil . . . “
The action and gory scenes of the book were a five-star rating in my mind; however, the second part of the novel–being more emotional and less blatantly destructive–gave off a more introspective vibe. While both of these halves were brought together nicely in the end, the parts with Amber seemed to put “on hold” the main action we started with; thus, halting the rough and rapid pacing for a time.
“. . . I was hurt, but I wasn’t destroyed . . . “
Overall, I feel that Bernstein has some incredible characterization and vivd, jaw-dropping scenes in this novel. Although the unevenness of the pacing threw me off for a while, the end brought back much of the dynamics that I enjoyed initially.