I must record the facts that have led me to where I am now. So that, when someone reads this, they understand. Sam Hunter’s neighbours are pillars of the community, the most influential people in town. But they’re liars too. The Greenhills are hiding something and Sam’s determined to find out what it is. As his investigation unfolds, he realizes the lies reach further than he ever imagined – is there anyone he can trust? Uncovering the horror is one thing …escaping is another. A chilling new story in the Red Eye series
I’ve been reading several horror novels in the #redeyereadalong on Goodreads, this is the third book in the series from Stripes Publishing that I have read, enjoyed, (if that is the right word!) and reviewed. During this week’s #RedEyeReadAlong – 12/10/2015 – 18/10/2015, I’ve been immersed in Flesh and Blood. Oops that doesn’t sound right, let’s hastily change that to I’ve been reading Flesh and Blood!
Flesh and Blood kind of lives up to expectations in terms of its title – this is a pretty gruesome horror read. The central theme of Flesh and Blood is not ghosts, scary dolls, vampires, witches or demons, it focusses on warped people, doing some disgustingly deplorable actions. In my opinion this makes it a harder to take read, we can’t blame it on a fantasy element, it’s the human race that’s well and truly screwed up! So this is a horror read for those who like their horror choc-a-bloc full of gore.
The beginning starts of fairly slow, fooling the reader into thinking that perhaps nothing too horrible can possibly happen in the apparent heavenly suburbia of Hadlington. But even then there are huge hints that horrendous things are about to happen. A dead guy is found in the park on Sam’s first day at his new school and the state he is in isn’t exactly picnic viewing. Put it this way a lot of the kids from school who see his dead body are offered counselling afterwards. Nearby in an area known as Elton Gardens there is gang activity, giving the snobby kids and their parents a ready scapegoat for the murdered guy. This is a fast paced read which explores class differences, snobbery, reminding me of the kind of cruelty perpetrated in the Second World War. It manages to do this all in a neatly packaged horror format. I have to admit to turning pages in a desperate need to find out what happened in the end, (the ending is no picnic either.) Somehow, the ending left me feeling rather depressed!! Though in its defence the ending rocked, it was undoubtedly the strongest conclusion but don’t expect a cheerful read !! Hey this is horror!!
Overall, I would say that Flesh and Blood is a well crafted story but I have a slight personal preference for Frozen Charlotte and Sleepless in the books I have read up to now in the #redeyereadalong.
The main reason why?
Due to Sam’s interest in journalism, and his narrating the story, the reader can expect a fair amount of telling in this novel. At times this narrative device just annoyed and distanced me from the story. At a particularly pivotal point in Flesh and Blood Sam told the reader exactly what was going to happen next, and I was just staring at the page and wondering why, why, why? I found it difficult to identify with the main character Sam Hunter possibly due to this and some of his actions though understandable under the circumstances nevertheless came across as pretty heartless. So if Sam ended up in deep water I didn’t really care as much as I should have done if he’d been more likeable. In fact I think I identified more strongly with his nerdy friends, Liam and Jo, who he leads into trouble, and I ended up feeling very sorry for them. Of all the characters Emma Greenhill, Sam’s neighbour, and the Greenhill’s in general captured the full focus of my attention with Emma’s sweet perfection at the beginning evolving into something else entirely.
Apart from the above points Simon Cheshire wove a clever story, and kept me entertained all the way through, though it was pretty gruesome in parts, and definitely not for the younger reader or those who don’t like gore!
There is a warning on the back of the book about it not being suitable for younger readers which is undoubtedly justified.
A bit mixed feelings about Flesh and Blood, a highly compulsive read, with an ending that doesn’t hold back, bringing Sam’s narrating to a conclusion which leaves you with a sick feeling lodged in the pit of your stomach, so BEWARE it might not be for everyone.. Possibly I’m too much of a horror novice to cope!!! EEK!
The following links are for author Simon Cheshire, and Chelley Toy’s Blog, and to Heather’s review blog on WordPress, (both Chelley and Heather are organisers of the readalong.)
So difficult to rate, probably just a tad under 4 stars, I’d say, 3.75 stars.
Do comment if you’re read Flesh and Blood or any of the other books in the #redeye series. I’d love to hear your opinions.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx