Review: Hello Darkness by Sam Best

Hello_DarknessIn the horror genre, many authors try for something new and different, something with a twist to surprise their readers. But when it comes right down to it, tales of good vs. evil have scared us for hundreds of years. Why mess with a good thing? Sam Best offers up a tale of ancient evil that delivers a reminder of why we should fear the monsters under the bed.

The setting is the idyllic Colorado town of Falling Rock. The tourists are leaving and the locals are getting ready for the long, cold winter. Ben Howard returns to his family home with his daughter, Annabelle to start a new life after his wife’s death. We meet the rest of the town’s residents and see that not everything is as it seems. The foundations are laid for the escalating horrors that await us. The characters are engaging and well-rounded, with plenty of backstory to gain insight into their motivations.

Tommy Bridges knows there’s a monster under his bed. Four-year-old Annabelle Howard is making friends with wolves in the backyard. There’s a fire burning in a black pit near The Last Valley Church and it’s growing every day. The police are ignoring warnings from the church’s pastor, who urges them to evacuate the town. The population is thinning and it’s not because the tourists are heading home for the season. Something’s in the woods, and only one man is truly prepared for what is coming.

When a schoolgirl is abducted from the woods outside the playground, be prepared for evil unleashed. Ben, his family, and the local police chase false leads, dead ends, and creatures that evoke images straight out of a Hieronymus Bosch nightmare. The action is tense and well-paced, with scenes that play out almost cinematically. The author gives you just enough time to catch your breath and let it all soak in before diving into the next blood-soaked tableau.

I recommend this book for readers who like classic supernatural horror stories, complete with unlikely heroes, self-serving villains, blood, gore, and depraved hellspawn. My complaints are few. Some of the character backgrounds are a bit too wordy, and I found myself skipping some paragraphs that didn’t seem relevant. Without giving spoilers, there’s a character who is repeatedly taken in by the same trick, despite knowing full well it’s a ploy. I found that implausible. I also felt the epilogue was weak. However, none of these things kept me from enjoying the novel. It’s a solid page-turner that will keep you guessing at who—or what—will survive until the end.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Originally published at: The Bookie Monster

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