A lot of people passionate about either loving or hating this one, I clearly fall into the camp of the former. I feel expectations play a big role in whether we enjoy a book, and the blurb for this one is quite deceiving … The “game” itself is only the last fourth of the novel. This isn’t “Saw,” it’s not a haunted house tale (though you could make arguments that it incorporates some of the tropes of the genre), but I found it both moving and brilliant.
Ketchum takes his time in this one, allowing the characters to drive the narrative rather than the other way around, and it works magnificently. One of my biggest gripes with a lot of books / films in the horror genre is that I don’t care enough about the characters before the blood starts flying. This doesn’t mean I need lengthy back stories or — even worse — flashbacks; quite the contrary. Often it’s through a character’s actions and/or reactions that we get to know them. But it’s also through their wounds that they become real.
For me, this was a story I didn’t want to end simply because I felt I knew these characters, and I could have spent more time with them. Ketchum’s approach only made the horror elements of this novel that much more shocking, which led to some great and/or tragic discoveries. A novella to take your time with and not race through, but highly recommended.
This novel is currently FREE on Amazon for anyone with Amazon Prime, as part of their “Prime Reading” program. Definitely worth picking up.