Wednesday 4 March 2015

REVIEW: Tim Curran - Doll face

Genre: Horror
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication Date: 3rd March 2015
Pages: 264


I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Also this book is published by DarkFuse and you generally cannot go wrong with anything they put out to the masses.

I have seen so much on so many sites about Tim Curran I thought this would be a good opportunity to see what all the fuss was about when this came up on NetGalley. After reading this one I’m left feeling a tad disappointed.

Six friends are returning from a night out when they get caught in a storm. The driver, being a bit drunk decides to take a short cut that he doesn’t know. As they are entering the town of Stokes, someone walks in front of the van and they run him over. When they get out of the van to see if he is ok, they discover it isn’t a human. It appears to be some sort of mechanical mannequin. When they try to get the emergency services to come help them, it appears Stokes no longer exists and they are trapped in a nightmare in the year 1960 with seemingly no way out. They must battle unseen forces, and their own minds to try and escape and get back to the real world.

Now – when I started reading this book it got me excited. It also got me super creeped out. The “evil” that the friends must battle against takes the form of “puppets” if you like. Mechanical mannequins that seem to be easily destroyed but have an uncanny knack of putting themselves together again and re-attacking. The friends are all separated and you end up with a few different stories and battles going on within the main story.
The way it is written initially it is very creepy. The idea of being chased around a town that doesn’t exist, by puppets that take many forms and knowing you can’t stop them, is scary. The tension in the book is fantastic in making you read with one eye open as the characters try to hide and can hear the “enemy” coming after them.

It takes on another turn in that it starts to mess with the minds of the characters and in turn your own. They start to see and hear things that can’t possibly be real and must try to keep themselves sane in order to escape. This again is very effective in messing with your own mind and creeping you out further.

Unfortunately, that’s as far as the story went for me. You discover all of the above fairly early in the book and then the rest is filled with more of the same that sadly became a bit boring for me. I found it hard to keep my concentration and when I came to the end of a page, couldn’t remember what I had read because I was thinking of other things. I hate when this happens in a book and generally lose interest at this point.

I kept going hoping it would get better or something different would happen to peak my interest again but it didn’t. It was just a case of going through the motions until I got to the end. I don’t want to sound nasty or cruel but I found this one a bit of a struggle. I would read Mr Curran again to see what he produces because I did like his writing style. I just didn’t like this one too much.

General rating:

★★ It held my attention but could have been a lot better.

Horror rating:

★★★★ This was verrrry creepy.

You can buy Doll Face here:

Book Synopsis:

Six friends are returning home from a night out when they end up in a town called Stokes. They discover they are trapped there, as Stokes does not really exist. The actual town had burned to the ground more than fifty years ago. The Stokes they are in is a nightmare version of the former town, engineered by a deranged and undead mind, a supernatural machine of wrath that will destroy them one by one....unless they submit to its dominance and become living dolls.

Tim Curran lives in Michigan and is the author of the novels Skin Medicine, Hive, Dead Sea, and Skull Moon. Upcoming projects include the novels Resurrection, The Devil Next Door, and Hive 2, as well as The Corpse King, a novella from Cemetery Dance, and Four Rode Out, a collection of four weird-western novellas by Curran, Tim Lebbon, Brian Keene, and Steve Vernon. His short stories have appeared in such magazines as City Slab, Flesh&Blood, Book of Dark Wisdom, and Inhuman, as well as anthologies such as Flesh Feast, Shivers IV, High Seas Cthulhu, and, Vile Things.

You can see more about Tim at his website.

Tim’s author page can be found here.

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