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The Plot

A plague in the post-covid world causes people to randomly break out in violence, brutally murdering those around them. The novel follows three women navigating life in a violent pandemic and the cyclical domestic abuse that each woman faces and faced in the past.

TheViolence review

Chelsea is a mother of two girls – Ella and Brooklyn – with an abusive husband. It didn’t start out that way, but David slowly progressed to a nightmare. When The Violence allows people to turn in those infected, Chelsea takes her chance and has David taken away for The Violence. She must escape with Ella and Brooklyn before David returns and turns to her snooty, narcissistic mother Patricia.

Chelsea leaves her daughters with Patricia when Chelsea discovers she is infected with The Violence after waking up and having stomped the family dog to death. Chelsea joins a wrestling federation akin to WWE and finds her voice and strength in being freed from David, her abuser. As Chelsea builds a better life for herself and looks for the vaccine that will cure her and allow her to return to her children, Patricia’s life with her granddaughters begins to devolve.

TheViolence review

The novel narrates through the eyes of Chelsea, Patricia, and Ella as they try to survive cycles of abuse within a global, violent pandemic and come together as survivors and family.

The Verdict

This novel is scarily in proximity to the pandemic that we are currently exiting. The characters of The Violence often reference how the new pandemic is similar and different to the Covid pandemic. This strikes really close to home imagining that another, worse pandemic could be around the corner. Dawson did a great job of getting the reader to imagine such a scary future.

The way that Dawson creates characters that grapple with such a real and terrifying situation such as domestic abuse on top of a violent pandemic makes the reader connect to Chelsea and her family. We root for Chelsea to reunite with her family and obtain the vaccine for them and herself.

The Violence is incredibly paced and sucked me in from the first page. This is surely the newest dystopian thriller that will be on the tips of everyone’s tongue. While I have seen some readers become upset with Chelsea’s venture into professional wrestling in the middle of a pandemic, I felt that the storyline was believable and gave me the character development I craved for Chelsea. Chelsea grew into her own personally and found a way to support her family in a way she never could have thought.

Dawson has struck it big with this novel and I encourage anyone who can handle gore to check it out.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Read The Violence by clicking below!

Sarah Moon is a stone-cold sorceress from Tennessee whose interests include serial killers, horror fiction, and the newest dystopian blockbuster. Sarah holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing. She works as an English professor as well as a cemeterian. Sarah is most likely to cover horror in print including prose, poetry, and graphic forms.

Book Reviews

A Murder in Reverse: “Wrong Place Wrong Time”

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The Plot

“A brilliantly genre-bending, mind-twisting answer to the question How far would you go to save your child?”  — Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jen watches her son murder a stranger. Stab him to death. She and her husband, Kelly, watch as their son Todd is taken into custody.

The next morning, Jen wakes up and it’s yesterday. Jen knows that at the end of the night, her son kills someone. She is determined to stop it.

Jen goes further and further back in time trying to discover why Todd murdered a stranger and how to stop it.

The Verdict

This book is twisty. Right when you think you know the ending, something else is there to prove that the story is more multifaceted than that. While the premise of the novel is simple, Gillian McAllister elevates a simple concept with deep, dark twists.

It is best that you don’t know too much going into this one. For fans of Blake Crouch, this is such a good thriller with time travelling vibes.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Book Reviews

Woom: An Extreme Horror Novel

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“That doesn’t invalidate it,” Angel said. “There’s no statute of limitations on pain.”

The Plot

Angel is a man who knows pain: physical, mental, sexual. The story begins with Angel visiting Room 6 at the Lonely Motel and ordering a plus-size sex worker to his room. What comes next is Angel’s retellings of painful stories while performing sexual acts on the sex worker, Shyla.

The novel reads as a book of short stories, as Angel relays stories to Shyla and she tells him stories back. This is a novel of pain and disgust. Angel’s stories are so dark and traumatic that Shyla can’t believe they are true. As Angel bares his soul, we see a side of him that is melancholy and unable to process hurt in a natural way.

The Verdict

This novel is full of disgusting visuals and isn’t afraid to get dirty. This truly is an extreme horror novel. As a warning, there is discussion of feces, blood, rape, sex, and body horror. This novel is not for the faint of heart. You’ll close this short novel feeling dirty. Angel is a character that begs for sympathy while his stories narrate that he may not be as innocent as he perceives.

When the subtitle says this novel is extreme horror, believe it. Only the strong will survive Duncan Ralston’s Woom. It is more splatterpunk than anything, but true literary quality lies beneath the filth.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Read it yourself by clicking below!

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Book Reviews

Did She Do It? Stacy Willingham’s “All the Dangerous Things” Asks Us Just This

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One year ago, Isabelle’s life crumbled when her baby was abducted from her home. Her marriage to her husband, Ben, is destroyed as they try to navigate the fallout.

The Plot

Even one year after the abduction, Isabelle seeks answers. She is still doing appearances at true crime expos to get information on the attendees, thinking the abductor will be there one day. Abductors usually revisit their crime and Isabelle swaps her appearances for the event guest list, never taking any money for her talks.

Some think that Isabelle killed her own baby as evidence from the case says the perpetrator came from inside the house. Isabelle hasn’t slept – not fully – since Mason was abducted. Her therapist is worried that she may be having hallucinations. Is Isabelle the killer or is she on a quest for true justice?

The Verdict

I absolutely loved the complication of not knowing whether Isabelle was a reliable or unreliable narrator. This was my favorite aspect of the novel. It made me question everything that Isabelle had to say and the actions she executed.

Isabelle is a character that, as a mother, I really felt for. I wanted to believe that Isabelle was innocent, but I was hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to find out. Stacy Willingham is the master of a story that winds all around, waiting for you to find the truth.

If you are interested in reading Willingham’s first novel, A Flicker in the Dark, check out my review here.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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