5 star review originally featured at Kendall Reviews!
I was first introduced to the twisted world of Jackson R. Thomas last year, with his stellar release The Beast of Brenton Woods. I love werewolf tales and that story lived up to my lofty expectations.
Now Thomas has returned with Paradise, Maine – but don’t let the title or the cover fool you, this is splatter-riffic.
The plot is straight-forward and pulled from my dream horror VHS tapes that I used to rent. A small, quaint town on the coast hides a secret. The Watcher. A figure shrouded in mystery who lives in the hills above them. The townspeople do their part to keep quiet and not interfere. In order to keep The Watcher satiated a mysterious corporation working with the local Sheriff randomly select people to come as sacrifice. They win an all-expenses paid trip to the scenic Paradise, Maine, unaware of their fate.
From here out Thomas takes us on a sprint through the small town, the cabin that the winner’s get to stay in and the hills above. The foot is fully pressed on the gas pedal as things continue to take terrible turn after terrible turn. I love bleak, dark horror and this is done majestically while infused with some obscene gore, done in the best way possible. Even though I knew no good was to come, I still rooted for the folks trying to survive The Watcher.
I had one small gripe with the story overall – some of the characters names. With this being a pre-release ARC and not knowing Jackson personally, it might be that some of the characters were named after friends or family members, but as is, I found some of them to be annoying and I’m usually fine with that. Oh well, that’s on me!
I enjoyed the characters throughout, and several of them had really enjoyable resolves to live, which sometimes can be lacking in a tale like this. I’m not a fan of characters that survive but don’t appear to try hard enough to survive, if that makes sense. Doesn’t happen here!
So if you’re looking for a fun, fast, slaughter house of a story – look no further. Jackson R. Thomas brings the goods and packs them into bite size zip-lock freezer bags making sure to keep the horror fresh on every page! A must read for fans of ‘Brenton’ but also a must read for fans of books and movies that keep the death counts high!
Alien Agenda Publishing continues to release top notch horror for fans and I can’t wait to see what’s coming next!
(Side note – the version I received was a poorly edited pre-release version. I was assured by another reviewer that they received an updated ARC and the spots were fixed. I declined a new version by AAP and didn’t attribute any of the mistakes towards affecting my review! Thanks to Net Galley, Jackson R. Thomas and Glenn with Aliena Agena Publishing for the pre-release ARC!)