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The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz Review

Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. 

The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation. 

The Dark Game.

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Horror After Dark Review

I have to admit that I had a little struggle with this book because the font on my ARC was so teeny tiny I could only read the story in 20 minute increments before my eyes started to cry and reading became an impossibility. After trying to read it this way for over two weeks I finally gave up and requested an eArc via Netgalley. Thank you Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for the arc’s! The author has confirmed that final copies will have an easier to read font so your eyeballs need not worry.

This is a story about a group of writers who are invited to join in on a game at a creepy old mansion hosted by a creepier old writer. A Dark Game, mwahaha. The winner will receive fame and fortune and all they desire and who doesn’t want that? Everything about this game and its mysterious host is weird and ultra-creepy but the prize is irresistible. The losers? Well, you do not want to lose this game and that’s all I’ll be saying about that . . .

When the story begins it tells the tale of a full cast of characters in alternating chapters and, likely because I was reading it in such short bursts, I had a difficult time keeping track of who was who and whose back story went with who and I kept mixing them all up in my head. I kept hoping a few of them would get killed off fast in order to end some of my confusion. I know, how selfish of me, but it is the truth. I don’t like straining my brain that hard after a long day of life and some of these characters were no good trashy people anyway and no great loss to humanity, if you’re asking me.

I enjoyed this book once the cast was trimmed down a bit, as I knew I would. The whole atmosphere was very well done and I enjoyed learning about the darkness hiding inside most of these characters. Reading about terrible and sordid secrets is my one of my favorite past-times and this book delivered on those. There were lots of nasty surprises to be found and watching the characters get all vicious with each other was a bit of a blast!

This is a wild book that really ramps up in its last few acts. If your memory is better than mine and you can handle a large cast of characters, I bet you’re going to fall right into this deliciously evil story and not come up for air until you finish.

4 Stars

Read Kimberly’s most excellent review of The Dark Game right HERE!

About The Author

Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter (http://jonathanjanz.us12.list-manage….), and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Laurie

Scary books make everything so much better! I've been reading them since I was a wee, weird little thing and grew up with a steady diet of King, Koontz, Barker, and Brite and will read and watch just about anything with a hint of darkness.

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