Book Review: Dark Passage: A Paranormal Thriller By Griffin Hayes

Tyson Barrett has carried a terrible secret his entire life. A secret that haunts his dreams and threatens to destroy the happiness he’s worked so hard to build. But those nightmares don’t just want to torture him. Somehow they’ve found a way out…and now they want him dead.

This 46 chapter novel exceeded my expectations. Already a fan of the author’s writing style, I knew the story would be spooky, entertaining, and action-packed. But it went well beyond that. I’ll never smell a pine tree scent or see a fly the same way ever again.

  • Griffin Hayes has an amazing talent with characterization, voice, and description. His creative, original metaphors helped enhance the narration. Each character sounded different. I got lost in the story, feeling what the characters felt. Experiencing what they went through because of the great use of showing rather than telling.

For the majority of the novel, Tyson and Hunter switched point-of-views, each having their own chapters. At first, its set-up where I had no idea how they could know each other or meet later in the story. Then, it’s finally revealed that Hunter’s patient Brenda (in a coma) is actually Tyson’s mother. Let me tell ya, the plot thickened! The premise was Hunter just got hired to join Sunnybrook Asylum as a doctor, and for awhile Tyson has had insomnia because of nightmares. He found Dr. Stevens to help him sleep by taking a dosage of medicine after every meal.

  • There were some chapters that showed the supporting characters’ perspectives as well. Pay close attention because these sections are very important in developing the plot and revealing some of the mystery.

My favorite line was: “Funny, he thought how so many of the fears that we carry with us aren’t much more than a product of an overactive imagination.” Boy was Tyson wrong LOL! Bad for him–good for the readers. This thriller was very entertaining.

Besides the suspense and action, I loved the drama elements as well. It helped me, as a reader, really care about the characters. Poor Tyson. Due to his long periods of insomnia, he pushed his family away, so eventually Ruma left him taking their son Kavi with her. Their conversations broke my heart, and I wished she would have gave him a second chance. I’m a sucker for happy endings. He met Judy, so I enjoyed their friendship blossoming. She was the only one who believed him about all the craziness going on. Tyson had a crappy childhood. His brother Alexander had died, his mom had attempted to kill Tyson. That’s why Brenda was locked up in the insane asylum. She was in a coma but had high brain activity levels (like she was dreaming). No. She was stalking Tyson and Kavi, plus turning Hunter into a madman.

Chills went down my spine whenever the characters died. The scenes were so disgusting–in a good way–and I kept looking down under the table to make sure nothing wasn’t crawling towards me. Also when Hunter went cray-cray, the other characters weren’t aware. So, I kept screaming “Watch your back”, especially that cafe scene with Ruma. When Ruma and Kavi visited Sunnybrook to get answers, I knew her telling him “When adults ask you a question, you better answer” would blow up in her face. Brenda was able to communicate with Kavi, getting his home address out of him. Dun, dun, dun…

I have to admit that I was scared when I saw it was 46 chapters, wondering when I’d have time to finish reading it. However, it was a very fast read. And, all the sections were important to enhance the story along further. The action and emotion weren’t lost. There wasn’t any boring setups or unnecessary backstory. All the twists and reveals kept me on my toes; the ending tied together nicely.

  • I could picture this as a movie. I could envision Logan Marshall Green as Tyson and Ryan Phillippe as Hunter.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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.

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Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby