The Bad Box by Harvey Click

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Sarah Temple hopes to find a bit of peace and quiet when she leaves her abusive boyfriend, but instead she finds a world of horror. It’s bad enough that a sadistic serial killer and another maniac are both trying to murder her, but what’s worse is the mysterious Solitary One who controls both of them, a malevolent entity that the serial killer describes as a living darkness, a man and yet not a man, something that’s alive and yet not alive, something that wants to appall the world.

Trying to flee from the two killers, Sarah finds herself running deeper and deeper into a deadly supernatural trap, a place where people are buried alive, where ghastly apparitions mutter in the dark, where demented killers prowl, where a crumbling haunted house can drive its victims mad with terror, and where something buried for a very long time may walk again.

Harvey Click’s previous novel, HOUSE OF WORMS, had a decidedly Lovecraftian, pulpy atmosphere. This new one, THE BAD BOX, has a more modern, gloomy feel, ala King or Rice. This is not to say that Click is copying anyone…goodness no! His narratives have a style that I hope no Big City Editor ever convinces him needs to be smoothed out. It’s hard to talk about this book without fear of giving away important details, and I don’t want to diminish anyone’s pleasure (or is it agonizing torture? ) of reading this story of constant surprises.

Several horror cliches present themselves, but are handled in unexpected fashion. One thing I like about Harvey Click’s stories is he is able to write about characters far different from his own point of view. So many authors have characters that seem to have the same opinions and persona as their creator. Click’s character’s are always fascinating,and often not someone you’d care to be stuck in an elevator with.

Once again, fans of his previous book will find this one somewhat different, but still quite exciting, thoughtful and fun. Oh, and gruesome. Yeah, gotta have that in a Click novel,and this one doesn’t disappoint. I have to admit that at one point, reading it late at night, I, old curmudgeon that I am, got goose bumps. The common can become hellish. Click’s descriptive prose will have you feeling those same goosebumps too.

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