Book Review: Malice By Griffin Hayes

I began my reading challenge after viewing this author’s sig–book covers and brief descriptions of his books–on Absolute Write Forum.  His horror stories sounded intriguing, so I wanted to take a chance on new authors instead of always buying the same stuff.

I downloaded his free The Second Coming: A Horror Short Story, which the plot is Jack Barrow has traveled back in time to save his family from a sadistic killer.  All he has to do is convince Dr. Sims at Bellevere Heights Mental Institution that he isn’t crazy.  Even though the story is very short, the set-up was amazing.  At the end, I was like ‘I KNEW IT!’–in a good way.  The plus side is you get a look of Griffin’s writing style, and you get a 7 chapter preview of Malice and an excerpt of Bird of Prey.

Malice is the fourth book for my reading challenge.  It would have been my first review, but I couldn’t find him on Absolute Write for awhile.  My stupidity had me write down the names of books and the AW screennames (instead of the actual author’s names).  I’ve learned my lesson hee hee.  I’ll blame it on the fact that during the holidays, my right-bottom wisdom tooth gave me pain, so I was doped up on painkillers and antibiotics.

Anyway, here’s my thoughts on Malice by Griffin Hayes:

Something unspeakable is murdering the townspeople of Millingham and only seventeen year-old Lysander Shore knows what it is.  A dark shadow that can possess its victims and force them into grisly acts of suicide.  Lysander knows because he has seen it and he’s pretty sure it saw him too.

Now he can’t shake the eerie feeling he’s being watched.  And when his friends and neighbors begin to die under mysterious circumstances, he knows his only hope is to uncover what the shadow wants.

Lysander’s frantic search for answers leads him to a dark secret.  One that traces back to a witch’s brutal torture and execution 350 years before.  A secret about himself Lysander never knew.  A secret he desperately wishes he could forget.

This 3 part, 36 chapter novel spooked me from literally the first sentence–“The stranger grinned and his sunken cheeks made his face look like a skull.”–to the very end.  It was creepy like a movie you’d find on the Chiller channel.  With chills running down my spine, every so often I stopped reading to look around my room, definitely over my shoulder.  There’s a painting of five ballerinas that I kept staring at to make sure their eyes didn’t move.  That’s how great the author is in being very descriptive and creating a frightening vibe.

I loved that it was a mystery.  Lysander tried to figure out why he’s seeing unusual things, Samantha (a.k.a. Sam) doubted her mom commited suicide, and Deputy Alex realized something went on than meets the eye.

  • Even though Lysander was the main character, readers get a chance to understand everyone else as well through their third person point-of-view narratives.  I liked that I knew the reveal of a solved clue before certain people in the story realized what was going on.

The most frightening scenes for me were when Lysander enters Millingham and the sign says ‘STAY AWAY’, whenever it described the character’s suicide in detail, and whenever it mentioned Peter Hume and Reverend Small.  I could picture them looking so deathly and menacing.

I loved the sarcastic sense of humor, especially in the library scene.  I enjoyed Lysander, Sam, and Derek’s friendship.  I liked Derek, so with the house party scene, I was like ‘NO!”  The story brought me back to my high school days with the classroom and hallway scenes, and with teens being frustrated with their parents but not communicating it in an effective way.

When everyone was finally on the same page in believing Lysander, my heart raced.  I hated Deputy Alex, but he redeemed himself at the end.  Griffin Hayes was brilliant in keeping me in suspense until the last second; I loved learning about the witch, the people in the past who tortured her, and the reveal of who each person represented from their past lives (the characters who were dying).

  • Moral:  Don’t mess with a witch LOL!!

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the author or book, please visit:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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