Review of Like Death by Tim Waggoner


3 stars

This book needs a bit of an intro before you read my review… it was truly strange.

Synopsis

Scott Raymond is a man haunted by his past and terrorized in the present. As a young boy, he witnessed the brutal murder of his family, but there is so much of the gruesome tragedy that he simply cannot remember — including the identity of the killer or why Scott alone was spared. The memories won’t come, but the trauma won’t go away.

Scott is an adult now, still emotionally scarred but learning to deal with it. He has come to Ash Creek to write about a different mystery, a six-year-old girl named Miranda who has disappeared in broad daylight one year ago. Here, Scott meets another girl named Miranda, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the one who’s missing — but this one’s a teenager. She will draw Scott into the bizarre hidden world known as Shadow. A world where nightmares are very real . . . and very deadly.

What the synopsis doesn’t tell you

Anything, even things just barely on your level of perception will be thrust into this world of crazy! If you’ve ever dreamt strange things that kinda freaked you out when you woke up, this will likely talk about and explore some of them! It wasn’t creepy (well not to me) but I wanted it to be. Perhaps I’ve just done a good job of creeping myself out of late. On another note, everything in this book has a latent sexuality to it. If not immediately, down the track some sort of sexual innuendo will be made about it.

Who I would recommend it to

Anyone interested in a complete mindfuck.

Having said that, it doesn’t ring true to horror, so some horror fans would be disappointed; it’s not even totally gore, though it is probably closer than horror. It’s not even in or outside of the science-fiction realm either. It contains some aspects of mystery and some crime-thriller themes. It seems to be a mash of a lot of genres, just a very gruesome one.

Review

Like Death: I’m not 100% certain as to why the book was called Like Death I think perhaps the PR guy thought ‘complete mindfuck’ wasn’t appropriate. Even something relating to darkness or evil would have been a bit more appropriate in my opinion.

Don’t rush into this story if you can’t handle gore and horror. Don’t rush into it if you can’t stand constant WTF moments. Don’t rush into it if you don’t like talking/reading about killing, screwing, blood, guts, and all other manner of darkness.

This book was certainly all of those things; it was deep in the world of a sick mind (Scott Raymond’s, the main character). There was a lot of sexual innuendo mixed in with the horror and gore; everything seemed to be tinged in boobs, nipples, penises and sex. Take for example the murder of Scott’s family (which is in the books blurb here on GR), the young Scott sees his dead mother’s breast from where he’s hiding. It did get a little, dare I say it, boring, tedious, same-same.

There were things I did enjoy. Some of the craziness was absolutely unexpected. I liked that feeling of being completely thrown off balance by a twist in the story. I also found the ending to be a bit odd, but I felt that it was a good ending to this truly strange book.

I didn’t feel creeped out by this book. I wanted to. Some of the scenes were heading down that path, but I didn’t feel the tension, I didn’t feel goosebumps on my skin or the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. This left me feeling a little disappointed.

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