Review: The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation. The Dark Game.

The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz. Published by Flame Tree Press, April 2019. Kindle edition, 352 pages. I received an ARC of this book from Flame Tree Press on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Over the years, I had been hearing the name of Jonathan Janz mentioned -repeatedly- in the horror novel community. Nothing but praise for his work. I was very excited to get my hands on his newest book, The Dark Game. After hearing so much about him, I was looking forward to finally reading something of his.

I was not disappointed at all. This book pretty much had everything you could possibly want. Creepy house, crazy villain, henchmen and women, victims you love, victims you hate, blood, death, psychos, heroes, and plenty of horror. I flew through this book, sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. Once the story got on it’s way, I could not put it down.

At first, I was a little bit worried that the plot would have way too many characters for me to keep up with. I am terrible with names and sometimes when there are too many characters in a story my brain just does not want to play keep up. 10 writers, 1 recluse, plus 3 other people living in the house, not even counting all the side names mentioned as backstory characters. Oddly enough, I didn’t have any trouble remembering who was who, who had done what, or who was where. I was really surprised. 😮 I think my brain was just too bewitched by the story to forget anyone.

The over all story was super fun and scary. 10 authors all trying to win a once in a life time chance of fame and fortune in a writing contest by an infamous and legendary author. All of that right there is interesting on it’s own, but then you add in a bunch of demented, WTF supernatural elements on top of that and things get really intriguing real fast. There were a plethora of twists that left my jaw hitting the floor. Now add in a ton of juicy dark secrets just for good measure. Lots of layers to this book. The Dark Game left me with chills running up and down my spine. It’s no wonder I couldn’t put this book down!

I seriously had a great time reading this novel. I thought this was a delightful horror book and I would gladly recommend it others. I’m very happy I finally read something by this author and I will definitely look in to his other work.


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