Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Book Review: Are You Afraid of the Dark?

I've waited to post this one until fall (it's fall, don't come for me) because I seem to read my thrillers in the fall. I don't know if its because Halloween is in the fall and that's just the natural time to scare yourself or what, but it is what it is. I specifically picked this one because I am absolutely scared of the dark. I'm not even ashamed to say it. HA!

Are You Afraid of the Dark? - Seth C. Adams

Dealing with the tragic death of his father, 14-year-old Reggie finds the isolation of the woods near his house comforting. Until one day, a man – stumbling, bleeding, clearly distressed – emerges from the shadows.
Reggie hides the man in his treehouse, and helps the stranger recover. Each with stories to share, soon the pair form a strange friendship.
But then Reggie learns that his new friend is a ruthless contract killer. And when the killer decides to make a break over the Mexican border, with law enforcement in hot pursuit, Reggie must decide whether to honor the bond with his newfound father figure, or betray it and bring a brutal murderer to justice…
I remember a show called Are You Afraid of the Dark on Nickleodeon as a kid because I was, and always will be, afraid of the dark. I watch it now and it seems ridiculous that it scared me, of course. I remember as a kid though being terrified of the show. I had forgotten all about it but when I was offered this book for review, the title took me off guard and I took that as a dare. Admittedly, it took me a little while to get the courage to read it because even though I'm 38 years old, I'm basically a child and still scared of everything. I had to read this book in pieces because I normally don't read anything that would fit into a horror category and I was seriously worried. 

Thankfully, I don't know that I would call this horror. I'm not sure its really a thriller either, but it certainly fits the category of creepy really well. I have previously read another book from this author called If You Go Down to the Woods and I gave that one a four star review because it was also kind of creepy, so I went into this one knowing it might be a little weird and that served me well. I saw that this book/author is compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Ray Bradbury and while maybe not a twin of any of them, I'd say this author and his books are more like Jennifer McMahon, who I'm a big fan of  because her books are definitely strange but always good in a way you can't singularly pinpoint. 

We need to talk about this book though. It starts off with Reggie, only 14, heading into the woods for some solitude, presumably to contemplate his father's recent passing, and he comes across a man who is bleeding and clearly not well. A normal person, I suppose, would run for the hills and call for help. Not Reggie though. He sees this stranger and decides to basically drag this person to his tree house that his father helped him build. Reggie finds himself as an impromptu nurse, helping with the grizzly details of serious gunshot wounds and handling it with more maturity than most adults. Over time though they each start opening up to each other (kind of) and telling stories of their lives. Reggie opens up about his father and the way he died, and Ivan (presumably the bad guy) talks about his life as basically a killer. It feels like a light vs dark conversation, with each realizing they need the other in life to survive and that maybe everyone is a little of both. 

In the middle of all of this though, there is a manhunt for Ivan because of course, you don't just get shot for no reason. He's apparently wanted by a particularly creepy Sheriff and so Reggie finds himself interacting with this guy throughout the book. I feel like overall, this was pretty good. It didn't really scare me, even though I was waiting for it, and I could already figure out who the bad guy was, what happened (mostly), and I thought I knew how it would likely end. I was definitely wrong with the ending, and I felt like that last third of the book really tumbled to the end for me, so much so that I actually re-read it to make sure I got it right. 

If you are looking for a definitely different kind of book club read that might bring forth possibly spirited debate on the ending for sure, but also about Ivan, this is a GREAT pick. Ivan is definitely a bizarre character but he's talking about his very flawed moral code and Reggie is listening and trying to wrap that around what he's gotten from his father (who was a pastor) and coming up with his own. It's all really strange, but it is maybe one of the top books that left me thinking long after I turned the last page. I keep thinking I might re-read it again because I feel like perhaps I missed something that you'd only really pick up on a second read, if that makes sense. 

I have to say thank you to Harper 360 for sending me a copy of this for review. Not going to lie, I am kind of glad this didn't scare me because I'm already tired as it is, I don't need nightmares on top of it. I will say this is an author I'm going to keep my out for because this is the second book of his I'm giving 4 stars to, I'm anxious to see what he brings us next. 

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1 comment:

Why Girls Are Weird said...

This book sounds GOOD. Adding it to my Goodreads!