***I received a free copy from the Making Connections group on Goodreads in exchange for a review***
Book One of the electrifying horror series “The Park Chronicles”
Gnashie is a young boy with problems. His father is a twisted alcoholic and things haven’t been the same at home since his mother walked out on them. At school he only has one friend, a girl named Julie. When the pair get caught up on a school excursion to a theme park, it seems like the perfect escape for Gnashie and his problems.
BUT THIS PARK IS NOT A SAFE AND NURTURING PLACE
Evil lurks within. Years later after Gnashie has moved beyond his experiences at The Park, a criminal mastermind returns to announce his plans of destruction and world domination. As easy as it would be to ignore the impending doom, the only hope for Gnashie is to go back to where this all started.
BRUTAL. MINDBENDING. INSANE.
No matter how far you travel into The Park, there are still so many horrible truths to uncover.
Watch as Gnashie grows up and becomes pushed to the very core of his limits.
Watch as The Park’s words bleed from the page and burn into your heart.
THIS IS A PARK, YOU WILL NEVER FORGET…
I liked this 5 part book. It was broken down into the different stages of Samuel’s (a.k.a. Gnashie’s) life from an elementary kid to an adult. Even though he had a rough childhood, I couldn’t get behind anything he did as a teen or man. I didn’t sympathize with him; in fact, I wanted him to get caught. It took me a while to get used to rooting against the main character. But that’s a testament to the author’s writing. It wasn’t bland. He wrote about a raw and edgy subject matter that made me cringe–kids were forced to do child porn by pedophiles. Some parts were hard to read, and this is coming from a person who loves “Law and Order: SVU.”
The whole point of writing is to get a reaction out of readers. And Shane Jeffery definitely got a reaction out of me.
My favorite lines: 1) The things you don’t notice…until it’s all coming back. 2) Although I’m sure some of them were mocking me, I always felt a special bond with the nickname. 3) But of course there’s more. There’s always more. 4) I didn’t know if it was evil, if it was insanity, or some kind of twisted combination of the two; but obviously he was a hideous fucking monster.
Meet Gnashie, a naive little boy. He got the nickname because his dad kept knocking his teeth out. He’s a socially awkward loner in school. He wants to make friends but keeps getting bullied. His elementary school crush, Julie, doesn’t even really notice him. The author did a great job of having readers feel sorry for the kid, especially regarding his mom is missing.
A concerned teacher, Mr. Muckles, suggested a field trip. I felt bad that Gnashie wasn’t allowed to go. But did his dad have a good reason? Was Mr. Muckles sinister?
Gnashie snuck out of the house to attend The Park field trip. I jumped in my seat when he made his way to the fence in the backyard and saw his mom’s decaying body near the shed! No wonder his dad wouldn’t allow him to go near that place! That image stayed in my head throughout the entire novel.
As a reader, all I wanted was for Gnashie to finally have a nice moment in his life. He was so happy to be hanging out with Julie at The Park. The author did a great job of tricking me. The Park wasn’t a good place at all.
During the kids’ time there, the story was written in fragments and had a weird, creepy undertone to it. I guess it sort of felt like Edgar Allan Poe’s writing style where it’s like what did I just read? But, I think that was intentional because The Park was a demented, terrorizing place that made kids have “daymares.” The other kids and Gnashie were forced to stay there against their own will. A twist–Gnashie and Julie had visited that place before, but he hadn’t remembered.
The kids were missing for years. Gnashie got out when he was 15 years old. Back at school, he had a crush on Rachel. As a reader, I thought he’d get a chance to have a happy ending for all he had went through. I was fooled again. He helped The Park kidnap kids, the first victim–Rachel. Yuck! I couldn’t look at him the same way again. He’d do anything to keep his secret. Anything.
Apparently, his dad and Mr. Muckles had a history. His dad was a part of the law enforcement. Gnashie was a criminal who kept getting caught murdering people. I wish there would have been more jail or prison scenes, instead of things happening off the pages. It would’ve helped me see that justice was being served instead of thinking: why doesn’t he ever suffer any consequences? Was his dad helping him get off? His dad had went through sick things as a kid too–another twist.
As an adult, Gnashie married Rachel (of all people) and they had a daughter. Did history repeat itself? Or did he get a happy ending? You’ll have to read (if you can handle the subject matter) to find out.
I RECOMMEND this book to read.