“Jade Daniels faces down a brutal serial killer in this pulse-pounding tribute to the golden era of horror cinema and Friday the 13th from the New York Times-bestselling, multiple-award winning Jones.
Four years after her tumultuous senior year, Jade Daniels is released from prison right before Christmas when her conviction is overturned. But life beyond bars takes a dangerous turn as soon as she returns to Proofrock. Convicted Serial Killer, Dark Mill South, seeking revenge for thirty-eight Dakota men hanged in 1862, escapes from his prison transfer due to a blizzard, just outside of Proofrock, Idaho.
Dark Mill South’s Reunion Tour began on December 12th, 2019, a Thursday.
Thirty-six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it would be over.
Don’t Fear the Reaper is the page-turning sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw from New York Times bestselling author Stephen Graham Jones.”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones. Don’t Fear the Reaper is the second book in the Lake Witch Trilogy and was published in paperback and audio by Titan Books on 7th February 2023. I chose to read a free eARC of Don’t Fear the Reaper but that has in no way influenced my review.
One of the books I remember most from 2021 is Stephen Graham Jones’s My Heart is a Chainsaw. A beautifully written literary horror novel and heartfelt homage to slashers of years gone by, featuring a kick-ass lead in Jennifer ‘Jade’ Daniels. Jade totally encapsulates the phrase ‘strong female lead’, more than any other character I can think of. Imagine my glee when I realised that Chainsaw wasn’t actually the end. Chainsaw is in fact the first book in the Lake Witch Trilogy with Don’t Fear the Reaper sitting happily in the middle, and the third and final book to follow at a later date. It put a big smile on my face knowing I was going to return to Proofrock, Idaho, and that I would get to spend time with the legendary final girl that is Jade Daniels once again!
After years of trying to prove her innocence, Jennifer Daniels returns to Proofrock a changed woman. She’s Jennifer now, not Jade. She’s done with Jade and her dumb eyeliner for good! And her obsession with horror movies and final girls is no more. She’s over it. It’s understandable really seeing as she has lived, breathed and fought her way out of a real life horror movie on Independence Day four years earlier! Despite the devastation of that night and with a number of familiar faces absent, Proofrock hasn’t changed much. Coinciding with Jennifer’s return to her hometown, a prison convoy is making slow progress to its final destination. Until the incoming blizzard wreaks havoc and the prisoner escapes. Now notorious serial killer Dark Mill South is heading to Proofrock and he’s on a murderous mission to cause as much hurt and devastation as possible. Thirty six hours and twenty bodies later, on Friday the 13th, it will end…
My Heart is a Chainsaw was very much a love letter to slasher movies. I think I said that, pretty much word for word, in my review at the time. I was bowled over by the amount of research the author put into the book and how much his passion for slashers shone through. Don’t Fear the Reaper has that same feel about it and it’s really rather glorious! I thoroughly enjoyed this edgy sequel, perhaps a little more than the first book if truth be told. In Don’t Fear the Reaper we hit the ground running with bloodshed and violence galore from the outset thanks to slasher extraordinaire, Dark Mill South. From there, it doesn’t really let up for any significant period of time. There is always something going on and the impending sense of overhanging doom was a beautiful thing to behold.
The characters, Jade in particular, are magnificent. There are a sprinkling of returning characters from the first book, those who made it through the Independence Day Massacre (or the Lake Witch Slayings as Jade refers to it!). The grief and loss are palpable at times particularly with one character who always had Jade’s back. The supporting characters are all multi-layered and the reader gets to know them well over the course of the book. So when the inevitable happens, you really do feel it. One character in particular stole my heart and I’m still suffering. I’ll say no more.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed Don’t Fear the Reaper. The reader’s attention is hooked from the opening pages and you just can’t look away, no matter how much blood is spilt, no matter how stomach churning the scene, until the terrifying, heart-in-your-mouth conclusion. You’re with Jade every step of the way and I loved it! Jade Daniels is pretty much everything, and I cannot wait for the third and final book to be published. If you haven’t read My Heart is a Chainsaw yet then I would probably start there before picking Don’t Fear the Reaper up. I’m sure it can be read as a standalone but you will get so much more out of it having read the first book in the trilogy first. All in all, a thoroughly gripping read with standout characters in the perfect setting. I feel a connection to these characters so I’m excited to see how it all ends for them. Recommended.
I chose to read and review a free eARC of Don’t Fear the Reaper. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones was published in the UK by Titan Books on 7th February 2023 and is available in paperback and audio formats with the digital copy to follow (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |
Stephen Graham Jones is the NYT bestselling author of twenty-five or thirty books. He really likes werewolves and slashers. Favorite novels change daily, but Valis and Love Medicine and Lonesome Dove and It and The Things They Carried are all usually up there somewhere. Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a big change from the West Texas he grew up in. He’s married with a couple kids, and probably one too many trucks.
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