The door waits to be opened.
The window to be explored.
The house holds mysteries.
Intrigue for adventure-seekers.
Ghosts for hunters.
Blood for the insatiable.
And death for its followers.
Come and explore.
THE DEAD GAME
Take an idyllic town called Oasis. Take a girl called Linda who arrives there to open a bookshop (but finds that she’s really opening a can of worms – and corpses and vampires and ghosts). Take her stubborn determination to investigate on and on and on instead of getting the hell out. Take a mysterious invitation to an abandoned mansion of death and decay. Take all these and every fibre of you and your brain will be screaming “What in under God are you doing there? Get out! Don’t be crazy!”
This dark romantic horror fantasy was a delight and a terror to read. Stunning.
Gripping horror, March 14, 2015
Susanne Leist has a strong visual imagination, vividly depicting the coastal town, strange citizens and the gothic End House. The brief vampiric ‘romance’ scene with Wolf and Linda was especially convincing and suitably creepy.
At Linda’s apartment, Todd walked in first. Almost immediately his highly attuned senses picked up an unusual scent. It smelled of flowers and cinnamon. He stood still, trying to place the unique aroma. It somehow seemed familiar to him. Linda never wore fragrances and neither did Shana. He looked down the dark hall and wondered who had been in this apartment…or maybe still was? From the living room, he heard a woman’s voice. “Welcome! What took you so long?”
He had assumed that everyone was accounted for in town, but this woman didn’t live in town. Now he placed the scent. He strode into the living room. “You’re not really Hank’s daughter are you, Frances? Is that even your real name?”
“Very astute of you, even though you are a mere human vampire. My name is Maxell and I am Natalie’s granddaughter,” said the woman with hatred burning in her eyes. “You killed my grandmother and now I will return the favor and kill all of you.”
The woman was beautiful with her blonde hair and voluptuous figure, but underneath she was as cold as ice. Todd understood this.
“Natalie was one of The Dead before becoming a saint. Are you the same thing?” Linda asked as she watched the slinky blonde move gracefully around the room.
“No, silly human, I am not a saint but the last of The Dead in town. You’ve ruined all of our carefully laid out plans. We were waiting for Wolf and his gang to rid the world of unwanted vampires before we annihilated every last vampire, including all members of The Dead. I would then be ready to ascend to become La Santa Muerte, like my grandmother. We were to be the only true power on earth. Finally we would be free to be worshiped properly and fully by humans.”
Furious that they had another rogue vampire to deal with, Todd shouted at her, “You’re just another sniveling follower. The world will be a much better place with you gone.” He quickly turned to find a weapon, but by the time he turned back, Maxell and Linda had already disappeared together. The living room was empty.
He pulled out his cell phone and dialed the sheriff’s office. As soon as Sam answered, he yelled into the phone, “Linda is gone! Natalie had a granddaughter who’d posed as Hank’s daughter. She is the last of The Dead. This Maxell woman has abducted Linda! We need to quickly rally the forces! Call everyone! We must find them before she harms Linda!”
“Don’t worry. She obviously took Linda hostage as a way to trap us. She’ll hold onto her until she has us,” Sam said.
“Where should we look for them? Do you have any ideas?”
“Natalie loved Wolf’s house. Now that I think about it:
Natalie adored Wolf and his house way too much. Before she became a saint, they must have been secretly meeting there, devising their warped plans. I wonder when Natalie had become involved with vampires; she used to be such a sweet old lady. We should meet at Wolf’s house and see if that is where Maxell is holding Linda.”
“I hope that this is the last of them. I’ll get in touch with everyone, even the elders. Please don’t do anything rash—like going in without back-up.”
“Okay, but just don’t bring any humans; they’ll just get in the way. I don’t need any more people to worry about.”
“Fine,” Sam said. “I’ll meet you there.”
4.0 out of 5 stars Great horror debut, March 10, 2014
L (UK) – See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dead Game (Paperback)
Susanne Leist does a wonderful job of setting her debut novel The Dead Game, in the sweet seaside town of Oasis, a place where one would never expect evil to lurk.
At the beginning of the book we are dropped into a historical piece showcasing the gruesome capabilities of End house, this sets the novel up nicely for our introduction to recent times.
Oasis is a town which should require little by way of regular law enforcement, but it has suffered a disturbing history of disappearances and unexplained phenomena that have been covered up. Interestingly, the sheriff deputy has a habit of sneaking away when there’s work to be done!
The story progresses to tell us a bit about Linda and her perception of the town and its residents. A sense of menace builds quickly and there are surprises to be had when she and her friends accept an invite to a party at End house (unbeknown to them as the locus of the original horrors) A property in which everything defies the natural laws, the friends are subjected to a host of horrors that they try to attribute to mere ghoulish humour on behalf of their host. Vampire, Wolf, sets his eyes on the prize, (Not world peace!) and progressively works his evil machinations against the young people.
In Leist’s town we find that humans, vampires and vampire humans have come to coexist.
This is a book where the characters have more guts than sense! and in true horror fashion I read this book on the edge of my seat, willing and hoping for them to seal their fate by disregarding the warnings and jumping into the crises that could have been avoided. I was not disappointed!
Among the horrors, Leis introduces black magic and hallucinogenic apparitions; the walls bleed and pointy cages drop to trap the partygoers, and many other horrors follow. I loved how Linda and Todd’s romance blossomed through the midst of it, and how Todd’s true nature is hinted at throughout before being revealed.
There are many characters in Leist’s horror, and though I could have happily strangled some of them, (Par for the course) I was kept involved in true morbid fascination. I must confess that evil vampire, Wolf was my favourite character in this book, and I was entertained throughout.
This is a must read for horror lovers.