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Jack & Jill by [Burke, Kealan Patrick]
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Jack & Jill Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3255 KB
  • Print Length: 131 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Elderlemon Press (2 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H2SVMZ0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #464,033 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This excellent novella from KPB deals with a particularly unsettling and horrific topic, Gillian is married with two kids and is plagued by nightmares of the abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of her father.

Her nightmares and the fall out, place a tremendous strain on the relationship with her family and she decides to confront her issues head on, with a visit to the origin of all the pain.

This story is distressing in places, very well written and completely consuming. Stand out parts for me were Gillian’s visit to her mentally ill and seriously deluded father, the visions she experiences as her nightmares blend into reality and the chilling nightmares themselves. When the past resurfaces in horrific circumstances, she decides to act in the most brutal way imaginable.

Loads of quotes amidst some wonderful prose, here’s one that stayed with me.
“I am twelve, John is nine, and we have not yet learned of death. Pain and horror, however, are kindred. They visit us nightly, and take away little pieces of our soul. We live in nightmare and escape during daylight.”

Highly Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You are never gonna be disappointed with Kealan Patrick Burke. His new novella is just as enjoyable as anything else he has written. I found this book deeply disturbing but fantastic at the same time. One chapter scared the absolute bejesus outta me. 5 stars again
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Format: Kindle Edition
Kealan Patrick Burke has that rare ability only few good authors have and that is the ability to shock and surprise an unexpected reader. Jack and Jill is not an easy read and the complete antithesis of the rather bland and simple title. Gillian has been abused as a child by her father and this story is her quest for answers and salvation....to this end she decides to visit her father in the hope that by facing that which has gone before she may find some peace in her present life with her husband Chris and her children Jenny and Sam. The writing and the tension when the father and daughter meet is unbearable and for me KPB has described better than any author I know, the hatred and indeed twisted love that still exists, and the open wounds that will never heal. If this was not enough there are some shocking revelations...."He touches me, Mummy" and with those four words Gillian's nightmare has returned. When husband Chris seeks forgiveness "I've done something I'm not proud of, honey" the readers is taken on a last roller coaster ride to a conclusion that is brutal and sudden in its execution. This is brilliant writing from a true master of his art, a dark and twisted tale that will leave you breathless for more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 34 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite read of the year 20 Dec. 2013
By Christopher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a big fan of Burke’s work, I was psyched for the chance to get my hands on an early read of his latest novella, JACK & JILL. Having read four of his novellas (and way past due on the rest) I can say that Burke has mastered this short form – providing tight pacing and plots that pack an emotional punch, along with his style of scares and dread that has become so well known.

The novella follows Gillian, one half of ‘Jack and Jill,’ as an adult, and deals with her struggle with recurring nightmares/dreams from events of her childhood.

JACK & JILL is one of my favorite reads of the year. The beautifully odd – and sometimes ugly – dream sequences took me back to the opening pages of Burke’s novel, KIN, and one of the best scenes I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The images of Gillian’s ‘dream version’ of her father are truly frightening, especially when…well I won’t spoil that. Likewise, near the end of the novella (no spoilers) there is a pivotal moment that hangs on one phrase, and just when you might think there isn’t enough space to pull it off, you realize Burke had already set the foundation and it makes perfect sense.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best horror novellas of 2013 31 Dec. 2013
By Frank Errington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Review copy

This is a review I posted on my blog when I read an advance copy earlier in 2013...

I've just finished reading an advance copy of a new novella to be released at the end of 2013. If you're a fan of Kealan Patrick Burke or of Cemetery Dance Publishers you may have already ordered the limited edition, signed, hard cover of this one. If you missed that window, don't despair, Jack & Jill will also be available as an e-book, probably in December.

The story starts with a dream, a nightmare really. Gillian is a wife and mother of two. She and her brother John were victims growing up. Her brother is long gone and all of those events weigh heavy on her mind, even after all these years. When they were young, they would often spend time rolling down a hill together. "Though my brother's name is John, and mine is Gillian, between us we are Jack and Jill. It is a fantasy, an escape, a secret identity no one can touch, further strengthened by this weekly ritual."

Jillian's two children are about the same ages as she and her brother John were in those days. Sam is nine and Jenny is fourteen. Maybe that's contributing to the dreams...nightmares.

For the most part, the horror in Jack & Jill is mental stuff as we watch Gillian's slow descent into madness or is that really the case, perhaps what Gillian perceive's is reality. Either way, Burke does an excellent job of walking the fine line between the two, leaving much to the reader's imagination and personal bias.

The author has posted the first chapter of Jack & Jill at his website, [...] and has graciously allowed me to re-post that chapter here. Enjoy.

ONE

A sky-spittle speck of rain hits my cheek. My heartbeat thunders in my ears, competing with the hollow sound of my own breath bellowing in and out of my lungs.

I tell myself this is why I can't hear John.

Gradually, I roll over on my side. I look at the school. The windows are black, neither reflecting the world nor showing what might exist within. I feel a vague tightening in my gut at the thought that soon it will consume us. To the right, I note that the man is gone. Further right, John is sprawled on his back, arms splayed out as he too stares up at the sky.

Unsteadily, I get to my feet, black sparks pulsing in my vision. I fear I might be sick, but close my eyes and allow the last of the disorientation to pass.

"You win," I call to John, because even though I'm not sure which one of us reached the bottom first, it is safe to assume it wasn't me. Besides, there is no competition here. There never is. I love John more than anything else in the world. Alone, the events we've been forced to endure would have destroyed us. Together, we can find solace in a world that seems to shun it.

There is blood on the grass.

I stop walking as more rain pats my face, not yet able to fully register the long thin shadow that edges its way into my periphery as the man I thought was gone reappears.

The blood, an odd color, more like bad movie blood than anything I have seen in real life, forms a thick wide ragged carpet leading from halfway down the hill to where John lays unmoving three feet away.

The man waits, in no hurry for me to discover his handiwork, and I am in no hurry to look upon him. I know who he is.

"John?"

I step closer to my brother.

Ferocious agony locks my chest and I drop to my knees in grief. I've been here before, though the horror never gets old. I know all too well the pattern of this malignant dream and my throat closes, trapping a scream. My breath catches. I try to close my eyes, and find that I can't.

The stump of John's neck paints the grass crimson.

My heart crashes against my ribs. Bile fills my mouth.

Fear and terror turn to rage, as I finally look to my right, to the thing awaiting my attention. I do all of this because it has been rehearsed, practiced a thousand times over twenty-odd years of dreams.

The man is tall and thin, and though a clear plastic bag has been wrapped tightly around his badly decomposed head, I recognize his face.

It is my father, and his mouth is wide open, filled with maggots that tumble free only to be trapped again in the folds of the bag. They move languidly against the plastic.

He is wearing a funeral suit stained with dirt. His white shirt and bare feet are spotted with my brother's blood.

I weep and bring my hands up to cover my eyes, but they too are made of plastic and hide nothing. Certainly not the gruesome gleeful bobbing of my father's suffocated head, nor the senseless fact that he has rusted clothes hangers for hands. Like a fish, John's head has been hooked through the roof of the mouth on one of them. His handsome little face now looks like a poor imitation, absent in death of everything that made it beautiful in life.

Finally the scream escapes, a train of utter anguish that plunges free into the cold air. It is mimicked by a peal of thunder as the sky splits and the rain falls in sheets that have more weight than is natural. I am soaked in an instant. Rising from my knees feels like I am struggling to stand underwater.

The plastic bag turns a foggy gray as hurried, excited breath obscures my father's face. Behind and above him, darkness rushes across the gravestones, creeping down the hill like spilled oil.

He raises the unburdened clothes hanger to show it to me and I hear his voice inside my head. Such a good girl. Do you remember how it felt to have it inside you? Twisting? Turning? It takes guts to know, and I know your guts. Such a good girl.

* * *

If you'd like to read more from Kealan Patrick Burke. I can highly recommend his novel, Kin, the highly successful Timothy Quinn series and my personal favorite, Currency of Souls.

Jack & Jill is now available as an ebook at Amazon.com.

Jack & Jill
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Magic 23 Dec. 2013
By Edward Lorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I once believed that a good book had to be a long book. You know, over five hundred pages; up around there. This mindset came from a near-constant diet of King and McCammon, Straub and early Koontz. Then I stumbled upon the likes of Rick Hautala, Scott Nicholson, Jack Ketchum, and, most recently (last year, to be exact), Kealan Patrick Burke. Sure, a few of their books are longer, but I believe that their best work is well under the 500 page mark. Kealan Patrick Burke's JACK & JILL feels like a full-length novel. The character development is on point. The descent into madness is vacuum-like, sucking you down into the belly of the piece, and, once you're there, you'll want to dig deeper and scrabble to get out, all at the same time.

JACK & JILL is quintessential horror. Burke pulls no punches. The dream sequences alone are worth the price of admission. Burke managed to create a monster so terrifying that I might swear off cellophane ANYTHING for a while. I can still hear the crinkling plastic.

The book touches on such tragedies as the death of a sibling, child molestation, and mental illness. If you cringed at the mention of any of those things, you might want to skip this book. This is, hands down, Burke's darkest story yet.

Now, about the ending. You might become unglued. You might just scream at your Kindle. Kealan Patrick Burke is a dark magician, highly-skilled in sleight-of-hand. He'll make you believe that quarter's been behind your ear the entire time.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brutal and flawless short from KPB 1 Jan. 2014
By Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A truly disturbing tale of childhood abuses and one woman’s struggle to deal with the present, while confronting her troubled past. A brutal and flawless short work by KPB. 5 Stars! Highly Recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Different Road Taken by Mr. Burke 29 July 2014
By Diane J - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I perused some of the other reviews written for this novel before writing mine and was not surprised to find a myriad of differing opinions. This seems to be a slightly different realm for Mr. Burke, more cerebral, more like one person's perceptions, more delving into maddness v. reality. I thought this method worked brilliantly because Gillian, the story teller relates her story in a series of dreams, visions, what she thinks or sees as reality, and questioning her hold on sanity. You never quite know which fork in the road you are taking, but it is a bumpy, glorious, scary ride nevertheless. Gillian has so many issues, with her father, her husband, her dead brother, her children, that you don't quite see where the story is headed until you are smack in the middle of the outcome. It leaves the reader guessing as to what was true and what was simply perceived. It is horror on a different level and I loved the book.
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