Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
For horror writer Andrew Holland his day has gone from good to bad in a snap. While walking his through the neighborhood his dog discovers the body of Rebecca Lanning lying dead on the construction site of a new home. If this isn’t enough to wreck his day his past has become the headline in the investigation. James Newman builds a great backstory with this famous writer who has a strained marriage and writes horror novels. This causes everyone to give him sideways looks and with the skeletons in his closet he is under automatic suspicion. The action is off and running within a few chapters and there is no turning back, this is a non-stop ride. Every scene with Andrew and his daughter is fantastically written and with the thick suspense I was expecting the worse to happen any moment. With the constant paranoia Andrew is feeling I thought his daughter would become the next victim causing our character to completely crumble.
As the days continue Andrew has become no less than the most hated individual on Poinsettia lane. He’s become the subject of countless gossip and ridicule by the very neighbors he thought were his friends. His property has been vandalized and worse the treatment he receives is enough to send him over the edge. The story moves rapidly as we await the next horrendous atrocity Andrew will be the victim of at the hands of his neighbors. James Newman’s writing is compelling, the way he draws you in to the action and horror is fantastic.
The irony of a horror writer suddenly living his life as if he was the character in his own book is a fun twist of fate. There are no ends to which Andy’s neighbors on this once happy and quite street will go to demonstrate their complete disregard for his life. The tension is crushing as the story reaches its climax, I felt the complete weight of his struggle and watching his life crumble in front of his eyes is heartbreaking. The once successful horror writer is now facing a real life horror at the hands of once ordinary people.
Length: 194 Pages
Publisher: Permuted Press
Release date: March 15, 2014
Animosity is the story of Andrew Holland, a bestselling horror writer whose life begins to mirror the fictional nightmares of his novels after he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Andy’s wife recently left him for another man. To keep from getting too depressed about that, Andy has thrown himself into his writing more vigorously than ever, when he’s not spending as much time with his daughter, Samantha, as joint custody allows. His neighbors seem proud to know him (although none of them would admit to reading “that kind of stuff”). The author is the closest thing to a celebrity most of Poinsettia Lane’s residents will ever meet. Everything changes, however, the day Andy discovers the body of a murdered child just several hundred yards from his front door. Almost instantly, his neighbors start to turn on him. Though the authorities clear him of any wrongdoing, as weeks pass with no arrest the local media insinuates connections between the gruesome subject matter of Andy’s novels and his tragic discovery. His neighbors’ derision is subtle at first – a nasty look, a friendly wave that is not reciprocated. Ben Souther, with whom Andy once enjoyed cold beers and baseball banter on warm summer nights, offers the writer advice which now hints of something more unsettling than the sly wisdom normally found in his quotes-for-every-occasion: “Let us not make imaginary evils when we have so many real ones to encounter”. His neighbors soon take their disdain to a frightening new level. His phone rings, and when he answers muffled voices curse him, spitting vile accusations. They vandalize his home, trash his vehicle. And just when he thinks things can’t possibly get any worse, another child’s body is found. Andy is no longer sure if he will survive this ordeal with his sanity intact…assuming he does survive. Animosity is a disturbing look into how otherwise good people can allow themselves to be misled by gossip, rumors, and a mob mentality. It is a retelling of the “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street” for the modern age, a morality-play-meets-horror-story in which the monsters wear all-too-familiar faces. Rather than bloodthirsty vampires or brain-eating zombies beating at the door, they are our own friends, our families, our peers…and what in any horror writer’s twisted imagination could be more terrifying?
James Newman, biography
James Newman is the author of a diverse selection of horror and suspense tales, dark fiction told with a distinct Southern voice and more often than not with a hint of pitch-black humor. His published novels include MIDNIGHT RAIN, THE WICKED, ANIMOSITY, and UGLY AS SIN. When he’s not writing, he enjoys watching horror movies (and showing off what he knows about the genre with the recent release of his first NONfiction book: 666 HAIR-RAISING HORROR MOVIE TRIVIA QUESTIONS), listening to loud rock n’ roll, and even dabbling in some stage-acting every now and then.