Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz (Sinister Grin Press)
I have been a fan of Jonathan Janz since I came across his novel THE NIGHTMARE GIRL. A certain Mr Keene had dropped his name a few times, talking him up as one of the current writers of horror fiction’s strongest voices. THE NIGHTMARE GIRL was a fantastic book. I loved it. Janz grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go until its bloody conclusion. He had found himself a new fan and so I picked up a couple of his other releases in DUST DEVILS and EXORCIST ROAD… Damn! This guy is really, really good. Fast forward to late last year and Janz released WOLF LAND. His bloody take on the Werewolf myth was an epic tale that breathed new life into this classic beast.
This leads us nicely to 2016 and the latest book from Janz – CHILDREN OF THE DARK. Now, let me tell you now that this book has EVERYTHING. It has monsters, serial killers, murder, love, friendship… oh my!
The main character is Will Burgess; A boy who is a little down on his luck. He was abandoned by his father (though a plot twist later in the book reveals a dark secret), his mother is a drug addict and he finds himself pretty much single-handedly raising his younger sister. Add to this the fact that Will is going through a stage of his life where he has fallen in love with a girl who happens to be dating the school bully! These are the least of Will’s troubles! Something lurks in the forest of Shadeland.
CHILDREN OF THE DARK is another masterclass of horror fiction from Jonathan Janz. As usual, his characterisation is superb and the steady build up to the carnage in the second half of the book is outstanding. You will really get to know Will, Barley and the others… but don’t get too attached. This is a Jonathan Janz book and if you are familiar with his other works then you will know that anything goes and most won’t survive.
I have heard a few people compare it to McCammon’s classic novel BOY’S LIFE. Yes! It is a coming of age tale set in the horror genre but Janz has his own style and this book moves in a completely different and crazy direction. Once again Janz has provided me with another 5 star read. For those unfamiliar with his writing, shame on you! Janz is at on top of his game and shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. It’s high time you invested some of your time in this superb book and others from this super talented writer. (Adrian Shotbolt)