Jonathan Janz is the real deal! Granted, I've come to this conclusion after reading only 3 of his books , but it's hard to ignore the fact that the guy can write.
In this coming-of-age tale, I could not help but to root for the young Will Burgess, who has to take care of Peach, (his younger sister), and his mom, a pill popping addict. On top of that, his dad is no longer in the picture, and he often finds himself a target of the local bullies.
Mr. Janz has the ability, just like Stephen King, to make you care deeply about his characters, only to put them through the wringer shortly thereafter. This story reminded me a lot of King's work, specifically The Body, (aka Stand By Me), and It. I cared for Will and his friends just as I cared for Beverly and Richie of the Losers Club. Unfortunately for Will and his buddies, the ending of It seems like a party compared to the fate of the kids in Children of the Dark.
After a slightly slow start, the pace of the story took off and it was all I could do to hold on. Every time I thought I had a handle on where the plot was going, it turned around completely, which made it difficult to put this book down. You know, that whole "I'll just read one more chapter" type deal and before you know it, it's 2:00 am? Yeah, that's where this tale took me and I loved it. I can't say anything more about the plot because it should be revealed as the author intended. I CAN say that this book was a blast and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel. How 'bout it, Jonathan? Children of the Dark II? You know you want to!
My highest recommendation to fans of coming-of-age stories, extreme horror, creature features, serial killers, cannibals and basically any fan of dark fiction, in general. There's something here for every horror fan to sink his/her teeth into. BEWARE the Children of the Dark!
You can pre-order this book HERE.
*In the interests of full disclosure: I "know" Jonathan Janz, (online only), and consider him a friend. Neither this or the fact that Sinister Grin provided me a free e-ARC of this story, affected my honest review.*
You can find this review and others like it at Horror After Dark.