Goodreads Link: The Dead Game
Author: Susanne Leist
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Rating: 3/5 stars
***I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Dead Game is a vampire novel… And a haunted house… And a mystery… And a few other things thrown in. All that’s missing is the game from the title. It’s like three or more books rolled into one, and that’s the main shortcoming.
The setup in the first part of the book was alright. The three main women discover various strange things going on underneath the surface of their seemingly peaceful town. Suspense builds as they begin to suspect that something is about to happen.
The first reveal, that evil vampires are threatening the entire town, was well-executed. However, things quickly got muddled by the number of characters and supernatural threats that piled up. To make things more confusing, the point of view began to expand to include many more characters, frequently switching heads after only one or two paragraphs. By the end, there was a new threat to their life every five pages or so. Each one was resolved too quickly, and then rapidly replaced with the next monster. It was like a monster-of-the-week format in a television series, except with an entire season’s worth of monsters in a single episode.
I felt like the author had too many ideas she wanted to use and tried to squeeze them all into one novel. It would have been better to spread out the various villains and twists into a series of books. If they were more spread out, there would be time to develop each one in more detail and to have time for the characters’ relationships, which took a background to the horror story. As it was everyone got paired off at the end with almost no explanation. And it seems as if a series is planned, because the story ends with the promise of future threats.
If the author takes more time to develop her stories and characters while focusing on a much smaller number, and gets an editor to help her with the stilted descriptions and dialogue, I think she could write a compelling horror novel. Unfortunately, right now, the book is pretty rough.