Saturday, April 6, 2013

Afraid - A Novel of Terror - J.A. Konrath

    2012; 286 pages.  New Author? : No.  N.B. : "Jack Kilborn" is a pen name of J.A. Konrath.   Book 3 of the “A Novel of Terror” series.  Genre :  Thriller.  Overall Rating : 8*/10.

    The sleepy town of Safe Haven – population 907 – lies in northern Wisconsin, and in the middle of nowhere.  It’s quite and isolated, so when a helicopter crashes one night just outside of town, that’s something to get excited about.  Things get even better when the whole town wins the Lottery.

    The rest of the night is going to be exciting too.  Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Safe Haven, it’s gonna be the “bad” kind of excitement.

What’s To Like...
    The title sums it up succinctly : Afraid – A Novel of Terror aims to scare you out of your socks.  The action starts right away, and the terror is not far behind.  The “what” is revealed fairly early, so the big question is “why”.  J.A. Konrath delights in answering this gradually and deftly.

    There’s lots of blood and gore, of course; along with lots of killing.  Safe Haven’s population of 907 takes one heckuva hit.  There’s a romance or two to balance the violence, and a monkey and a dog that are both uber-kewl.  This is not a paranormal book; it’s more a matter of science gone wrong.

    The pacing is crisp; Konrath is an author who simply will not allow any slow spots in his books.  There are lots of twists, yet the storyline holds together nicely and builds to a nail-biting climax.  The book is a standalone, and the loose ends tie up nicely without prolonging the page-count.

    “You think you know pain, old man?  You know nothing of pain.  You’ll answer every question I have and beg me to ask more of them.”
    “No,” Sal said, folding his frail arms, silently swearing on Maggie’s head to not give this bastard the satisfaction.  “You won’t get anything out of me.”
    It took less than three minutes for this intruder to prove Sal wrong.  (loc. 318)

    Though a firefighter, Erwin knew he wasn’t a particularly brave man.  Unlike his friend Josh, who wanted to leave Safe Haven for a bigger town with more danger, Erwin was perfectly fine here.  He hadn’t risked his life once in six years on the job, and that suited him.  But he knew that it was only a matter of time until he’d be forced to do something heroic.
    Unfortunately, it looked like the time had come.  (loc. 867)

Kindle Details...
    Afraid – A Novel of Terror sells for $3.99 at Amazon, as do the other two books in the series – Trapped and Endurance.

“Which head belongs to which, you think?” (loc. 232)
    I have to believe writing thrillers is a daunting task.  A horror movie can scare you by pulling you into the victim’s eyes and letting you watch the oncoming evil.  But a book has to rely on words on a page to imprint the fear into your brain.  How scared can you be by a bunch of sentences?

    There’s nothing subtle, complex, or highbrow about A-ANoT.  It should be judged by how well it traumatizes your mind and keeps it that way, with your only “relief” being to turn the next page.  It succeeds frighteningly.  8 Stars.

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