Book Reviews

{Review} WILL HAUNT YOU by Brian Kirk

Published by Flame Tree Press

You don’t read the book. It reads you.

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror.

Jesse Wheeler―former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead―was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son’s future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean.

But Jesse is wrong. The legend is real―and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however. By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare. The real horror doesn’t begin until you reach the end.

That’s when the evil comes for you.

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

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Horror After Dark Review

2.5 Stars.

WILL HAUNT YOU, by Brian Kirk, is a novel that had a spectacular marketing line: “You don’t read this book. It reads you.” 

Along with that, there was a “prequel story”, of sorts, that could be found on some sites. The allure of a book that materialized out from nowhere, and ended up with the reader ultimately listed as a “missing person”, was a concept I was excited to read about.

I mention this, because the expectations it gave led me to expect something quite “supernatural” and “haunting” in style.

The novel starts out really strong. The former metal group known as The Rising Dead, were having a ten year reunion at a local bar. Aside from more missing or grey hair, and bodies no longer in their physical prime, most of the members acted as they had a decade before. Only Jesse Wheeler had really changed. He was now sober–for seven solid years–married and with a son–selling jingles to ad companies, instead of rocking out and getting drunk every night.

“. . . What the biggest mistake had been. The lifestyle, or bringing others into the mix . . . “ 

Then the story deviates from what I was expecting, and heads off in a different mind-altering reality.

To be fair, the writing is good. I think part of why I became so lost in the plot had to do with the fact that it was nothing like the earlier “Prologue” had led me to believe. There were some scenes where I thought I knew what was going on, but seconds later we were in some new mental state with Jesse.

I’ll openly admit that I was completely confused as to the hows and whys–even after the final scene. When our main character goes from his own tale into “talking directly to the reader”, I was pulled right out of the story, and never really seemed to get back in.

Overall, Brian Kirk is an excellent writer, in my opinion, but the direction this particular novel took was simply not for me.

“. . . I’m the one truth in a house of lies.” 

Aside from not having a clue why/where this was headed, I believe my problem had a lot to do with the pre-conceived notions I got from the early marketing. If I hadn’t read that, would I have seen the book in a different light?

I honestly don’t know.

I would love to see Kirk write a full horror novel in the future, and get the chance to connect to his writing in a less confusing/chaotic setting.

“. . . Life is mostly spent waiting for something else to happen.”

About The Author

Brian Kirk is an author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, We Are Monsters, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. And his short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and award-winning anthologies, including Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders. 

He lives in Atlanta with his beautiful wife and rambunctious identical twin boys. Feel free to connect with him at www.briankirkfiction.com or on Twitter @Brian_Kirk. Don’t worry, he only kills his characters.

Kimberly

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

2 Comments

  • Laura Thomas

    Thanks for the thorough review. I felt pretty much the same about this one. Including how I went into it after reading the prequel short story and thinking it was something other.

    • Kimberly

      Kimberly

      I think that was the biggest fault. The build up was spectacular; unfortunately, it wasn’t really “true to the story”, so the disappointment is from the book NOT being what you were expecting it to be.

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