Book Reviews

{Review} Where Stars Won’t Shine by Patrick Lacey

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{Review} Where Stars Won’t Shine by Patrick LaceyWHERE STARS WON'T SHINE by Patrick Lacey
Published by Grindhouse Press on January 5, 2019
Pages: 190
Format: eBook
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I'll be seeing you.

That's the note left behind for Ivy Longwood when infamous killer Tucker Ashton murders her boyfriend. Several years later, after Tucker vanishes from his jail cell, Ivy travels to Ashton's hometown of Marlowe, Massachusetts. Not for closure or therapy. She's being called there. Steered by forces beyond her control. What she'll find is not the quiet suburban town Marlowe once was. It's something new. Something dark. Something that answers the question: Where did Tucker Ashton go?

Horror After Dark Review

4.5 stars!

WHERE STARS WON’T SHINE, by Patrick Lacey, is a complex novel that weaves some excellent characterization, emotions, and backstories with an idolized serial killer and the supernatural. The combination–much like other books I’ve read by this author–resulted in a fast-paced, original tale that I was captivated with throughout the entire read.

“. . . There aren’t any stars.” 

One thing I have to add is that not one of the books I’ve already seen by Patrick Lacey has the same “formula” as another one. It would be near impossible to pin down a generalization in regards to what he writes about, because every one of his stories is so original, and the themes vary so widely.

What I will say is that he is damn good!

“. . . He’d dug his own hole and could no longer see the surface. There was only darkness down here . . . “ 

A serial killer named Tucker Ashton became infamous when he began uploading videos of all of his victims. For some reason, he returned to his hometown of Marlowe, Massachusetts for a massive one-night killing spree–afterwards, calmly waiting for the police in his old home. Sometime later he mysteriously disappeared from jail, leaving no clue as to how or where he’d gone.

“. . . he would stare deep into the shadows for hours. Eventually he came to believe the shadows stared back.” 

Something that really impressed me in this book was how Lacey let us see the different mindsets of all the starring individuals. There are several “main” characters, and each one of them is summoned to Marlowe–a town that’s been dying out since Tucker’s final massacre there–on a very specific date. Each is connected to the killer in some way, whether it be a loved one murdered by him (Ivy), growing up in the same town (Ethan), or simply worshipping the maniac and blogging about his many kills (Zach). Of course, there are others, but these are the ones the reader really gets to know.

“. . . She thought they were just taking a road trip to visit the site of the Marlowe Massacre . . . “ 

Naturally, Lacey takes us back into Tucker Ashton’s life as well, but the way he does it puts an interesting twist on things. Chronicled in a book that was just released about the making of a serial killer, excerpts are taken and interspersed throughout the novel. As we are learning the personalities of the other characters, we are also starting to learn about Tucker.

“. . . I may have gone somewhere, someplace that’s as far from reality as possible, but I came back . . . “

The town itself undergoes a transformation–at least for our characters–as well. From a nearly “dead” place with only horrific murders for people to remember it by, to practically an amusement park for the most sadistic and demented kinds.

“. . . They don’t seem to be playing by the rules of reality.”

In here, we are given a look into Tucker’s imagination, without him having to say a word, or others speaking about him. I’ve always felt that an author’s “showing” the reader things as opposed to merely stating them, makes us think about it that much more, thereby becoming almost a part of the story, ourselves.

“. . . Even when everything seemed perfect on the surface, there was always something close by to ruin the facade.” 

Overall, I felt this was yet another phenomenal read from Patrick Lacey. His characterization is stronger than ever, giving us insight into many different personalities. Depending on the situation in which you find yourself, even the best of people can make a bad decision. Lacey shows this unapologetically, as his characters are merely “human” and no better or worse than any one of us. (Well, except for perhaps the serial killer . . . )

“. . . The reality was far more complicated and troublesome. Because killers did exist . . . “

The only thing I wasn’t thrilled with is that the story became a little predictable near the end. However, another twist or two made up for that moment.

“. . . metaphorical beasts lurked around every corner . . . “ 

A mind bending story which takes our knowledge of “reality”to an entirely new level. The characters feel “alive”. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re all very human, in my eyes.

Highly recommended!

About The Author

Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He currently spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), find him on Facebook, or visit his website at https://patrickclacey.wordpress.com/.

Kimberly

I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.

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