The opening pages of “The Dead Game” grab you by the ankles and drag into the deeper story. There is something painfully wrong with the seemingly perfect town of Oasis. Without getting into spoilers, here’s my take. Leist’s cast of characters is interesting in and of themselves. They do leave you wanting to get to know them better; yet, as in real life, you only get to see the sides and masks that others want you to see. That, to me, was the author’s point. Everyone in Oasis seems to have an agenda, and it’s hard to know what to believe. With that in mind, Leist does a great job of bringing to life the picturesque town of Oasis, and the menacing End House. The book is reminiscent of tales like “House on Haunted Hill,” yet with its own twists on the supernatural thriller. The story is well-paced, and the dangers faced by Leist’s characters feels terrifyingly real. All in all, a good read. I look forward to reading more works from this author.
They stepped into a drafty master bedroom, illuminated by lit candles encircling the canopied bed. The candlelight created shadows that swayed back and forth across the ceiling and walls. Linda felt like the shadows were reaching out for her. She backed away in horror, not knowing if she was imagining them or not. She didn’t want to move any closer to the bed, dreading what she might discover there. Anything was possible, from what they had already witnessed in this house. But Todd and Shana kept walking forward. She moved with them toward the bed. What she found there exceeded her wildest expectations. On the white quilt lay a human skeleton with its arms resting at its sides. The skeleton began to bleed, slowly at first, and then profusely from the deep gash in its bones from the long, serrated silver knife sticking out of its chest. In the stream of blood were worms—scores of worms—inching out from the deep hole, spreading across the white quilt. Linda couldn’t believe her eyes. She gasped. More and more worms were climbing out from the body, falling in groups from the bed to land on the carpet. A new doorway emerged on the far side of the room. Enormous worms spread across the floor, their squishy bodies were blocking the path to the door. They were circling her feet, trying to climb up her shoes. She stomped her feet to dislodge the worms latching onto her heels. Looking over her shoulder, she saw Shana backing into a corner. Her eyes appeared huge and saucer-like as she stared at the worms crawling closer and closer to her. She wasn’t making a sound, but Linda could hear her shaking—as if her bones were rattling inside her quivering body. Impatient with both of them, Todd dragged them through the swarms of worms. Once they were outside the room, Linda gave a sigh of relief. The persistent worms were locked in the bedroom, behind the door that had concealed itself into the wall. What was next for them in this creepy house?