Published by Flame Tree Press on April 11, 2019
Also by this author: The Siren and The Specter, The Sorrows, Old Order, The Nightmare Girl, Savage Species, Wolf Land, House of Skin, Dust Devils, The Raven
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. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Guess who is getting to kick this tour off….that’s right it’s me! I have yet another treat of Mr Janz for you! I have my review of another book (remember my 2019 misson – all his books!), this time The Dark Game!
✮ My Review ✮
So this is a brand spanking new book for Mr Janz, not a reprint but a fresh story. This is not as scary or as gruesome as his other stories I have read but there was something a bit more clever about it and more fresh. Plus I have to say straight of the bat I LOVED LOVED LOVED all the references to his previous works and other stories. I picked up the nods to The Siren and the Spectre before they were obvious and the Sorrows. I am sure there were more, I have a feeling the Nightmare girl was alluded to.
For a change, I was not grossed out and I wasn’t completely petrified under my cover reading this, I actually sat back and enjoyed the story of 10 writers off on a retreat to win some money and meet the mysterious Roderick Wells, a legend, who is going to help make it all happen. I mean what possibly could go wrong?
I mean I know that I was not on edge for a change but it does not mean that there were not a few game-changing scenes where I sat catching flies I mean, I did just read that didn’t I, plus when gore was needed it was there! One bit in particular….that ending! In the midst of the macabre the way the characters carried on was surprising to me, I mean they did just see what I read but you wouldn’t know, the crazy kids!
I love in the midst of the creative retreat, with the “writers” all trying to write the next big thing, channelling all the inspiration they can, whilst fighting their secrets. Secrets that haunt them, secrets that take a life of their own. Things really do go bump in the night and manifestations do really exist in this closed-off corner of the world. Who or what is causing this darkness?
Fear! That is the theme, not just with the writers on the retreat, are they good enough? Will they make it? But the fear of the unknown, where will this story takes us? What is lurking in the dark?
This is such a hard review to write because I can’t spoil anything for you. This is a dark dark thriller and it keeps you turning the pages with the short snappy chapters. You get insights to all the characters, you witness their secrets, some were just horrifying but everyone got a voice. You got everyone’s story as they all tried to prove why they deserve the prestige. It felt like you were in charge of this book because as the story unfolds I agreed with the way the events played out. Man, there is so much more I want to say!!
I love the Q&A’s at the beginning of each book as you get an insight to the author and the book, and when reading this, you could sense like Janz said, that Rick was so loosely based on him, especially with the Jack Ketchum reference. The Dark Game seems quite a personal ride for Janz and an insight into the fear of a writers journey.
As everyone knows I have a HUGE fan of Mr Janz and his storytelling. As much as this may not be knocking the Siren and the Spectre off the top spot, the magic that Janz weaves on the page still makes this an enjoyable read and one I struggled to put down. Each different take he has done on a known genre just wins for me. Janz has such a distinct voice, that I would be able to tell it was his book I was reading, even if the cover said something different. He sucks you in, leaving you on edge, completely engrossed in the world laid out in front of you, never quite letting you go even after the last page.
Until next time xxx
Thank you so much to Anne at Random Things Tours for the tour invite and the author and publisher for a copy of this book in return for my honest and unbiased review
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: