Friday, August 8, 2014

ARC Review: The Sleeping Dead by Richard Farren Barber


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: The Sleeping Dead
Author: Richard Farren Barber
Publisher: DarkFuse
Pages: Ebook; 214
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
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Genre: Horror

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who don't mind slow moving stories with lots of atmosphere.

Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / BookLikes
Don't listen...

When Jackson Smith attends an interview to escape his dead-end job, he witnesses a man jumping to his death through an office window. But this suicide is only the first of many he encounters. All around him, men and women begin taking their own lives. These seemingly random events make little sense to Jackson until he hears voices urging him to join the others.

Don't look...

As Jackson fights the desire to self-destruct, he flees through a mad city where the river and streets pile high with bodies of the sleeping dead, those who have simply surrendered to the strange voices.

Don't hope...

Jackson's only chance is to find an escape to this madness before giving in to the strange voices in his head.

So, since I didn't read the synopsis before I requested this book, I wrongly assumed it was a zombie novella. Am I the only one that thinks that's what the cover conveys? That's on me, of course, but I went into The Sleeping Dead expecting something much different than what I was offered. This ended up being good in some ways, but bad in others. I'll explain below.

On the one hand, the actual premise of the book caught my attention once I figured out what was going on. It'd be fair to say that it's a plague of sorts. Out of the blue, a rash of suicides sweeps across our main character's city. Watching Jefferson battle the uncontrollable urge to end his life was sad and terrifying. The voices in his head were well done, even chilling at times. I'll admit it's a bit macabre, but I simply wanted to know if he lived through to the end.

The writing didn't sweep me up, but it was solid enough. The setting was simple, but effective to the overall story. Imagine a whole city that is completely silent. Empty of the normal, everyday sounds we come to accept as part of our lives. It was eerie, and helped a lot with the whole atmosphere of this read. Kudos to Barber for that, really. I felt the unease in my core.

My problem was that, since I was expecting a much quicker moving story, I wasn't ever fully committed to the premise of The Sleeping Dead. I was frustrated that nothing overly exciting happened to our main character. I was also equally frustrated that there was no concrete explanation of what was going on. For a novella, I'll give it a slight pass. I know there's not a ton of pages to fit everything into. Still, I felt like the ending wasn't all that satisfying. So, three stars go to The Sleeping Dead.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

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