My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: April 1st, 2009
Trigger Warning: Graphic violence, graphic gore, talk of past sexual assaults.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? YOU WILL BE . . .
Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force. Until now . . .
A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying. Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. As residents begin dying in a storm of gory violence, Safe Haven’s only chance for survival will rest with an aging county sheriff, a firefighter, and a single mom. And each will have this harrowing thought: Maybe death hasn’t come to their town by accident . . . – synopsis from Goodreads
“You didn’t win at chess by killing pawns—you won by checkmating the king.”
What the actual hell did I just read? This was so much fun. If you want something realistic, then you need not apply. This is just balls to the wall graphic horror violence and bat shit crazy people all around. This is why you should never live in a small town!
I am a hardcore horror MOVIE addict. I get tagged all the time for horror recommendations for scary books but the secret is – I haven’t read that many. I’ve watched probably a couple thousand horror movies but maybe read a 30 horror books. I’ve been wanting to change that for a long time, so this is the year I really delve into the adult horror novels and see what is out there. I’ve known about Jack Kilborn for awhile, I had heard his stuff was pretty hardcore but I had never checked him out. I’m really glad I did though – honestly when I read it was about government conspiracy and military, it almost completely turned me off. I’m glad I gave it a try though because this was just a blast.
We start off in a small little town called Safe Haven (pfft!) and we meet one of the older residents who is going heading home on his boat to his wife. Unfortunately, his wife seems to have a visitor – honestly this opening scene was well done. It was so unsettling, and made my heart race. It was off to a good start and horrifying start. From there we meet other town residents and very quickly lots of violent and strange things are happening in the town all over the place. This book doesn’t mess around – it starts off strong and is fast-paced through-out the book, there aren’t a lot of quieter moments. What’s crazy about that is somehow the author does manage to give a good handful of these characters some development. Enough so that you care what is happening to them – it really upped the ante as the story went on and more and more horrible things were happening.
There is a shit ton of death in this book – I have no idea what the kill count would be but it’s a lot. The whole story revolves around some men trying to take out an entire town, so shit gets real very fast. The violence is very graphic – if you are squeamish or don’t like gore than this will not be a book for you. I loved that the cast of characters was really varied. We had a retired cop, a young cop, a waitress, a child and a few more in the mix. It was a good variety and I appreciated that it wasn’t just the young, athletic men that were taking all the glory in this one. Everyone is a badass in this story and that made it more enjoyable.
This isn’t realistic horror though and I know that will matter to some. People really don’t die easy in this book – like it gets crazy. I mean there are times it verges on stupid with how hard all these people are to kill. If you cut all the limbs off some of these people and they came back slithering to kill your ass, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. It’s that kind of far fetched. Also, there is a dog and they don’t kill the dog! That stressed me out so bad and I was so thankful that they had a badass little doggy in the story that wasn’t mutilated before recognition. Thank you for that Jack Kilborn!
Overall, I thought Afraid was a blast. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it gives the reader what they want – horror! No, it’s not breaking any new ground and it won’t blow your mind but it will give you a couple hours of pure adrenaline! I’ll be checking out more of Jack’s work and I’m excited that he sometimes writes with Blake Crouch, whose work I really enjoy.