Ben Shadeland and Eddie Blaze are the hottest young music composers in Hollywood. Fresh off an Oscar nomination, they’ve just been chosen to score a big-budget horror movie by Lee Stanley, the most demanding director in film. But Ben, the creative half of the duo, hasn’t written a note since his wife divorced him and got custody of their three-year-old son.
Chris Blackwood is the gambling-addicted heir to the Blackwood fortune, which includes the Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California. The island and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome, unexplained murders in 1925, but Chris needs money, and to get it he allows Ben, Eddie, Claire Harden (an aspiring composer), and Eva Rosales (Lee Stanley’s gorgeous assistant) to stay a month in Castle Blackwood.
Eddie is certain an eerie, isolated setting is just what Ben needs to find musical inspiration for a horror film. But what they find is more horrific than any movie.
This is the third book by Jonathan Janz that I’ve read so far, I think, and not one of the stories has been similar to the others – they are all highly original, unflinchingly nasty and really well written.
A word of warning about this book though: it’s naaaaaaaaaaasty. Sexual violence, child abuse, that one scene with a dog…
The story takes place on an island called The Sorrows, were a couple of movie composers and their entourage go for a month to seek inspiration. One thing leads to another, as it so often does, and now a supernatural entity with cloven hooves and a penchant for classical music is out for blood.
The characters in this book are excellent, a split between decent human beings, standard grey-area and some absolute monstrosities. It takes the entire course of the novel to find out who is who though, which is why I was gripped from the start.
The pacing of this novel surprised me, I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting but an action packed horror thriller wasn’t it. ‘Action packed horror thrillers’ are now something I’ll be actively looking out for in future.
What I mean by this is that you get all of your visceral nastiness, genuine horror AND lots of it within a short space of time with enough suspense to keep you on edge throughout.
Janz is one of my go-to horror authors and he has yet to disappoint, you can definitely expect more reviews of his work in future!