Top positive review
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A terrifying thrill ride!
on 16 November 2010
Ever since I read Jack Kilborn's debut novel 'Afraid' I have been eagerly awaiting a follow up.
It seemed that Trapped was never going to get published as planned so I was delighted to find it available as an e-book (AND the follow on from that, 'Endurance' which I shall also review).
I can only say the wait was worth it! Kilborn writes the most breathlessly exciting and, yes, extremely nasty, books I have ever read. I defy anyone, after the first few chapters, to put one of them down! He uses a very clever 'cliffhanger' device at the end of most chapters that just keeps the pages turning well into the wee hours!
With Trapped - a very loose sequel/prequel to 'Afraid' - we are presented with a very simple premise of a group of 'difficult' teens who've been taken away to a remote island for a survival weekend by their counsellors/guardians, Sara and Martin.
After Martin tells a scary campfire story about a hidden civil war prison and a history involving cannibalistic Confederate soldiers he abruptly goes missing in the woods.
Thinking it's a prank, no one is too concerned. But when Martin fails to return and the kids split up to go looking for him, then the horror really begins and their 'survival' weekend takes on a very literal meaning...
From this point Kilborn launches us on a horrific roller coaster ride encompassing cannibals, traps, mad scientists, torture, page turning suspense and two VERY scary villains in the guises of 'Subject 33' and the towering, terrifying, sharp toothed 'Lester'. Oh, and a LOT of gore!
It may sound very far fetched but Kilborn's great skill is in making this crazy stuff seem very believable. Beyond the shocks and gore, Kilborn is a very skilled writer and a master storyteller (and, unlike a certain Mr King, he ALWAYS has a decent ending).
The characters are so well drawn you find yourself either rooting for them or rooting for their inevitably unpleasant demise! As Hollywood often seems to forget, horror is only effective if you care for the characters.
Obviously not a book for the faint-hearted, but any self respecting horror/thriller fan with a strong stomach should lap this up and then want more!
That the publishers apparently refused to print this is quite staggering. I work in a bookshop and have sold loads of copies of Afraid and could do equally well with this one. Hopefully it will find a 'paper' release eventually but, in the meanwhile, if you have the means to read an e-book, what are you waiting for?!
By the way, 'Jack Kilborn' is actually the pseudonym of one J.A. Konrath who, under his real name, writes a fantastic series of detective novels which are also fairly nasty in places but heavily loaded with humour. Kilborn tends to leave the humour at home...