Jonathan Janz – The Dark Game Review

Genre: Horror
Length: 352 Pages
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Release date: April 11, 2019
Synopsis: Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts.

The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation.

The Dark Game.

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review

The Dark Game was great read from Jonathan Janz and a hard book to put down. We’re given multiple excellent storylines. I really dug the way Jonathan Janz created ten unique engaging characters and gave them all a distinct voice. Each writer’s history was a nightmare all its own. Many were centered around a personal trauma or bad string of events. As for the antagonist, Mr. Wells, he was nothing short of a monster, an egomaniac. Again, another well crafted character.

The lines of reality were blurry, the atmosphere claustrophobic, and the horror brutal. This was my early impression, and that intensity didn’t stop, nor did my enjoyment of this book. The Dark Game gave me a serious The Haunting of Hill House vibe, making it a hell of a good read. Deep in the plot, Jonathan Janz maintained an excellent awareness for continuity in his story. Where it can be easy to forget key plot points and facts, the plot was firmly upheld. This I appreciated as much as the high quality of character development. The Dark Game is a book I would highly recommend and sits high on my list of favorite reads this year.

Link to purchase The Dark Game

Jonathan Janz, biography

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The Library Journal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.” Since then Jonathan’s work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Ronald Kelly, and Bryan Smith; additionally, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and The Library Journal have sung his praises. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species, and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, “Jonathan Janz’s Shadow Side.” His most recent novel, Children of the Dark, received a starred review in Booklist and was chosen by their board as one of the “Top Ten Horror Books of the Year” (September 2015-August 2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German. Jonathan’s primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Jonathan at You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, on Instagram (jonathan.janz) or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.


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