Gripping horror, March 14, 2015
This review is from: The Dead Game (Kindle Edition)
“Beneath the pretty field of flowers growing on End House property, exists an evil so great and powerful that even the elders can’t fight it on their own.” Who are the elders? What is The Dead Game, what is the relationship between the wicked vampires, good vampires, human vampires and what role do spells and magic play in Susanne Leist’s hugely enjoyable horror novel? If you want to learn the answers then you’ll need to read The Dead Game, and if you enjoy this type of fiction then I strongly suggest you do.
The author wastes no time laying out her literary stall. After a gripping prologue replete with bloody tentacles and a swirling vortex Leist ends her introduction with, “No sounds or voices were heard again. End House remained empty until the party five years later that awoke the house to the possibility of new victims.” I especially enjoyed the prologue as I’m not a big fan of the slow burn or the slow build. When chapter 1 begins with descriptions of the quaint shops, pristine white sand beaches, tree lined walkways and grassy town parks of the picturesque town of Oasis we know that this tranquility is illusory, ephemeral at best. When Linda and the others receive invitations to End House the sense of suspense quickly grows and it isn’t long before we’re plunged into supernatural horror once more.
Some books you can’t help but imagine as films and for me, The Dead Game is one of these. I could easily see myself watching something like this on the horror channel or a Fright Night special. The characters are well drawn as are the interactions and interpersonal conflicts but in essence it is the narrative, the “game” itself which drives the tale as the victims wonder if their fate is to “all die in this house, one by one.”
On the whole the novel pretty much played out as I expected and the diabolical vampire, Wolf, was very much part of this. Even the little surprise right at the end wasn’t such a surprise. Yet for me at least, this is not to the work’s detriment. The Dead Game is extremely well written with vivid (often extremely vivid) descriptions, the premise is strong, the central characters well drawn and the actions and reveals continue to build throughout. If I had one criticism it is that of the narrative layering. Linda is the main protagonist and as such needs to be the focus a little more in the story. It is through the central character after all that the reader best experiences the roller coaster of emotions, especially fear and hope, of a horror novel. Although a fan of James Herbert this is an aspect that I never enjoyed of the late British horror writer’s work.
Notwithstanding this minor quibble, if you like this type of fiction then you will love Dead Game. I certainly did.
undying-orchid:Row of Trees (1915) by Jan Mankes (Dutch, 1889—1920).
WALK IN SHADOW
Who waits in the dark?
Stalking its victims.
Blending with the night.
Walking in shadow.
Lighter than air.
One with the mist.
Leaving death behind.
Traces of evil.
Evil wrought on the town.
Who are you?
Come out in the light.
I know you can’t.
I know what you are.
Creature of the night.
Come to me.
And your time on earth will end.
For I protect the town.
I protect the innocent.
Come out of the shadows.
And face me.
All will know who you are.
The leader of The Dead.
Your time is at end.
THE DEAD GAME
THE DEAD GAME by Susanne Leist
Semifinalist in Romance books for the GOLDEN BOOK AWARD
by Golden Box Books Publishing!
by hdunsirn:Peabody library, baltimore 9.6.14
The hush of the hallways.
The smell of books.
The taunt of knowledge.
Sit at a table.
Sit by the stacks.
Sit in the corner.
Absorb the essence.
Hear the whispers.
Read about love.
The bookstore is dark.
I turn on the lights.
Rows of bookcases loom tall.
I open the curtains.
The Florida sun flows in through picture windows.
Bright squares fall across the floor.
The perfect spot for comfy couches and chairs.
A counter with stools to the right,
where I would serve coffee and pastries.
Book stacks to the left.
Yes, it’s all coming alive to me.
A bookstore/ coffee shop
in the seaside town of Oasis.
Little did I know of the otherworldly plans
taking place at the same time as mine.
Plans that are in no way
as peaceful and innocent as mine.
THE DEAD GAME
I just found this review on Goodreads! Awesome.
Thank you to the author for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Excerpt from THE DEAD GAME
Their car neared the house. A stunning sight unfolded before their eyes. Encased in a tight circle of trees, shimmering from the lights strung through their heavy branches, the glass house sparkled against the dark night sky: a huge glass ball shooting green sparks of light from within its rounded walls. Its great dome twinkled as radiantly as the multitude of stars shining down from above.
Todd left the car with the valet and led the way up the marble stairs to the rounded front door. Two armed men, dressed in tuxedos, guarded the door, their holstered guns only slightly marring the fantasy image running through Linda’s vivid imagination: for as soon as she turned away to admire the scenery, she was once again in fantasyland.
The panorama facing her was doused in white. Gleaming white snow caps covered the tops of the tall trees and the great dome of the house. Snow was falling on them from somewhere. She could feel snowflakes melting on her lips. They felt wet, like real snowflakes. She touched her face and hair. Her hand came away wet. She had snow on her fingertips. She searched the grounds for a snow machine, but couldn’t locate anything—not on the glass domed roof or in any of the trees. She couldn’t believe that genuine snow was falling on them from the dark sky. The landscape resembled a winter wonderland despite it being fall in Florida.
Todd placed his hand against her back to escort her into the house. The others followed them into the glowing green ball that was alive with dazzling lights, music, and laughter.
Once inside, Linda was mesmerized by the glittering glass walls that mirrored the dancing images of the guests twirling around the marble dance floor. These images were cast in bright halos of light reflected from the myriad of crystal chandeliers hanging throughout the room.
Soft candlelight from mounted crystal sconces flickered across the intricate patterns carved into the green walls. It was the most beautiful and fascinating house that she had ever seen. She glanced back and watched Shana’s mouth drop open. She was certain that Shana would agree that the house appeared simply magical.
Couples were swirling around the immense dance floor. They were dancing in a large studio between Diane’s life-sized statues. Each sculpture was carved from clear glass: each one revealing a full-sized person. Linda found them to be too lifelike. She stood next to one and stared into it frozen face. She was startled by a fleeting expression of horror that seemed to cross over its features; as if a real person was trapped inside, staring out at her from within his glass tomb. Then the look was gone and the statue appeared lifeless once again.