The Sorrows, by Jonathan Janz

The Sorrows, by Jonathan Janz book coverGenre:  Horror
Publisher:  Samhain
Published: 2011
Reviewer Rating: five stars
Reviewer:  Michael D. Griffiths

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The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz became an unexpected treat and really hit home for me because, as I read the book, my life went through many parallels with the main character, Ben, which can be a bit disturbing when reading a horror novel. That’s more than fine though, I like to be set on edge and this book does a fine job of making it happen.

Like most good horror novels, Janz sets up a good number of characters for us to like or hate. Hate might win out with most of them. There are several side plots and threads, but the primary focus is on the four people, two men and two women, who get dropped off at the Blackwood Castle located on a lonely island off the coast of California.

The goal changes from trying to compose music for a new horror movie, to keeping their sanity, and then before long, it is just to stay alive. All manner of spooks come to haunt them and as the danger slowly builds, so does the realization those with a checked past are having worse visions. It is though the island can manifest the evil one has committed into real forms. The worse your past, the more trouble you could be in.

But through all of this, we also slowly learn some of the history of the real horror of the island itself and there is a true monster there worse than any of the horrors their past can inflict on them. A very real and brutal danger. It is a unique monster I don’t think I have ever seen used in a novel and you will not get any spoilers from me in regards to the monster Ben has to confront if he will get himself and the people he loves free of the cursed island.

Ben is a great character, but may be about to lose his three-year-old boy. These people have almost everything stacked against them on the island, evil visions, a very real creature of terror, and even friends as well as enemies betraying them and trying to hunt them down. Ben and his son have a small advantage, however. Almost similar to Danny in The Shining, Ben and his son can see what is happening to each other through their dreams. Ben learns of his son’s dangerous situation, but his son has been going out of his mind in fear for his father. Just when things are going from bad to horrible, most of the other characters in the novel show up on the island, including his son. Ben must somehow find a way to keep his son and Claire safe as chaos and evil erupt around them.

Not much to say in regards to problems here. Best horror I have read in a while. Very original. Might have even jerked a few tears out of me. I believe this is the first 5 star review I have written in 2017 and this novel deserves it. With all the books I have waiting to be read, I almost never do this, but I might order Janz next book from Amazon.

Michael D. Griffiths

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