You don't read the book. It reads you. Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A distur...

Review || Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk

You don't read the book. It reads you.

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler--former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead--was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.

The legend is real--and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.

By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author's deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.

WTF did I just read? 

No, seriously.

I just turned the last page on Will Haunt You, and I'm confident that I have no idea what just happened. Sometimes in horror, that's a feeling to relish. In this current circumstance, I'm still not positive.

Will Haunt You starts very strongly. Jessie Wheeler is a recovering alcoholic and possesses a dark secret from his blackout drinking days. Immediately, I was drawn into the story when we pick up in Jessie's life; middle-aged, struggling to stay sober and trying to hold on an inkling of what he and his bandmates felt during their glory days. 

Then it got weird. 

We definitely followed Alice down the rabbit hole...and by "followed", I mean were flung head first. Jessie is dumped unceremoniously into a world of the truly bizarre. He becomes a mounted head on a wall in a trophy room from hell. He relives the worst night of his life, but with a twist or two. Right smack dab in the middle, there's a whole science experiment on perfecting homunculi. (A homunculus for those who don't know is essentially a humanoid creature created through alchemy.) We also get some mystic life lessons along the way, such as: "The more you resist, the worse you will suffer. You've already died. Now be reborn." and "Sacrifice for the greater self." Throw in an Ouija board, a laboratory hidden under an abandoned town, and some animal men and you've got yourself a full ride on the acid trip merry go round! 

I didn't really feel like I got what the blurb promised; a story centered around a book that will haunt you. I was expecting something more like the box in The Possession, or Annabelle in The Conjuring. Instead, the book was almost an afterthought, mentioned early on and spattered throughout with ominous warnings to "put the book down" and of some unknown "he" that will be there watching. I feel like the book in the blurb took a backseat to the paranoia and weirdness that ensued. Don't get me wrong. There are some creepy moments that were highly enjoyable and the weirdness has a certain flavor to it that is unmistakably charming.

Apparently, the author released a prequel of sorts piecemealed on various blogs about a neighbor that found a book in their new house. It's out there for you to read it. That's more of what I expected from Will Haunt You, not the train ride to crazy town I received.  

In spite of all the weirdness, or maybe because of it, I finished the book. 

Odd? Yes. 

Intriguing? Yes. 

Should you read it? Not if you listen to the warnings.

Brian Kirk is a Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, was released in July 2015. In addition to being nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, WE ARE MONSTERS was optioned for film development by Executive Producer, Jason Shuman.

His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies, most recently Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors.

Visit his website for more information, or just to chat. Don't worry, he only kills his characters.