The Scary Reviews

Dedicated to Horror, Post Apocalyptic Fiction and Thrillers

Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz

The Face in the Window: A Childhood Memory Becomes Fiction

We’ve all experienced it.

It’s nighttime, and we’re feeling a little bit skittish. Maybe we’re alone, maybe we’ve just watched an eerie movie, read a creepy book, or heard an inexplicable thump from somewhere outside the house. We sense a presence out there in the darkness, and the last thing we want to do is turn and peer through the window.

We expect to see a black rectangle of night, and though we pray that’s all we’ll see, we suspect, on a level deeper than instinct, that there will be more—much more—in that dreadful pane of glass.

When I was kid, I had the misfortune of living with a physically attractive mother. To me, she was a hard-working, intelligent, loving, devoted mom.

To many of the men in our small town, she was an object.

She had been a cheerleader for the Indiana Pacers, and she looked the part.  When she and my biological father got divorced (I was four at the time), I guess a good many of the bachelors in our little Indiana town figured they might as well try to hit on her.

I remember the phone ringing a lot, remember my mom snapping at guys to leave us alone. I remember her changing our number to an unlisted one, but she never really let it show how annoyed she was with the unwanted suitors. She kept it cool for my sake. She almost never went on dates, instead opting to hang out with me.

Like I said, she was a great mom. The polar opposite of the mom in CHILDREN OF THE DARK.

However, the house in my new novel is the exact house I lived in growing up. The woods are the same woods I played in as a child. The graveyard is the same place I had nightmares about several nights a week.

And the fear of turning and discovering a face in the window is the same too.

Now, in real life, what I came to fear were leering male faces, peeping toms who thought it great sport trying to catch a glimpse of my mom in a state of undress.

There aren’t any peeping toms in CHILDREN OF THE DARK. No, what one character sees through a window at night is something far more sinister. But the fear that character feels in the book…that fear was easy for me to tap into.

I felt it every single night of my childhood. Often with good reason.

Children of the Dark, Synopsis~

  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2016

Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, are just beginning.

Because one of the nation’s most notorious criminals—the Moonlight Killer—has escaped from prison and is headed straight toward Will’s hometown. And something else is lurking in Savage Hollow, the forest surrounding Will’s rundown house. Something ancient and infinitely evil. When the worst storm of the decade descends on Shadeland, Will and his friends must confront unfathomable horrors. Everyone Will loves—his mother, his little sister, Mia, and his friends—will be threatened.

And very few of them will escape with their lives.

Jonathan Janz, Biography~

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, and in a
way, that 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.”

2013 saw the publication of his novel of vampirism and demonic possession The Darkest Lullaby, as well as his serialized horror novel Savage Species. Of Savage Species, Publishers Weekly said, “Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish.” Jonathan’s Kindle Worlds novel Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows marked his first foray into the superhero/action genre.

Jack Ketchum called his vampire western Dust Devils a “Rousing-good weird western,” and his sequel to The Sorrows (Castle of Sorrows) was selected one of 2014’s top three novels by Pod of Horror. 2015 saw the release of The Nightmare Girl, which prompted Pod of Horror to call Jonathan “Horror’s Next Big Thing.” 2015 also saw the release of Wolf Land, which Publishers Weekly called “gruesome yet entertaining gorefest” with “an impressive and bloody climax.” He has also written four novellas (Exorcist Road, The Clearing of Travis Coble, Old Order, and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories.

His 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 www.jonathanjanz.com. You can also find him on Facebook, via @jonathanjanz on Twitter, or on his Goodreads and Amazon author pages.

Praise for Children of the Dark~

“Jonathan Janz brings us a vicious tale of terror with the innocence of youth in a coming of age tale that should surely make Stephen King smile.” – Dave, Beneath the Underground

“Jonathan Janz has written the next definitive coming-of-age horror novel that is sure to be mentioned alongside those that came before it. Be on the right side of history and read it now, before it becomes a classic.” –Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to be Paid

Praise for Jonathan Janz~

“Janz is the literary love child of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum (with a little Joe Lansdale DNA in the mix), with all the terror that implies. Try him out. You won’t be disappointed.”
-Pod of Horror

“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene, best-selling author

“It’s the best of its kind I’ve read in years, such that I’d call it ‘The Quintessential Haunted House Novel.’ You’ve taken the old school traditions of the form which readers want and then have injected modern style, characters, and macabre, hard-edged mayhem into the guts of the story. THAT’S the way to do it, my friend!”
-Author Edward Lee on House of Skin

“Jonathan Janz is one of the rare horror novelists who can touch your heart while chilling your spine. His work offers incisive characters, sharp dialogue, and more scares than a deserted graveyard after midnight. If you haven’t read his fiction, you’re missing out on one the best new voices in the genre.” –Tim Waggoner, multi-published author

“Fans of old-school splatterpunk horror–Janz cites Richard Laymon as an influence, and it shows–will find much to relish.” – Publishers Weekly on Savage Species

Purchase Links~

Amazon

Also, check out Sinister Grin Press Website

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