Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“…I will more than likely be dead when you read this. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s the curse, and we’ve hit The Crazy Season.”
Where do I start?! This book sucked me in from the moment I started reading and continued to do so until I read that final page. Everything from the author’s style and the way he flips perspective so effortlessly, to the epic twists and carefully developed characters, this book is simply unforgettable (and you’ll soon see why!) I’m so happy to be sharing my review on the blog tour today. Make sure you check out the other reviews from all these other amazing book bloggers!
Joel Baxter is infamous for solving weird and bizarre cases that others avoid. So, when he receives an email from a teenage boy Tim saying his town is cursed, he cannot turn it down.
“…I will more than likely be dead when you read this. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s the curse, and we’ve hit The Crazy Season.” Every 20 years, there are a handful of unexplained teenage deaths and it’s started again.
With the help of his straight-talking friend Melody, they set out to get to the bottom of the alleged curse. Everybody in Black Rock has secrets and nobody wants to speak.
The closer they get to truth the more Joel and Melody realise that their involvement is far from coincidental.
Now this is what I’m talking about! What a creepy, intriguing and memorable prologue this book has – I couldn’t stop reading! I always love a prologue and when written in the right way, they make it pretty impossible to take your eyes away from the pages, and that’s exactly what I was faced with here. The idea of a possessed child acting in such a terrifying manner turned my stomach a little, and I just knew there and then this book was going to be one of my new favourites. We’re soon introduced to Joel Baxter, a investigator/journalist that is known for taking on the weird sorts of cases in his line of work – knowing that he’d soon be the person to solve one pretty bizarre case had me hooked, and I just had to know what he’d discover along the way. We learn more about Joel’s life and what happened to his family and I already felt so close to this character. This combined with reading the synopsis had me desperate to get into the book! Honestly, this was quite possibly the best prologue I’ve ever read.
We’re taken back 40 years into the past to 1981, where the first ‘season’ begins – this book was already giving me Stephen King’s IT vibes! It seems that every 40 years, there are unexplained deaths in teens, the first of which we get to read in all its glory. The author perfectly introduces us to what would soon be called ‘The Crazy Season’, something to be feared in the future, a time people look back on, remembering the horrors that consumed everyone. The book flicks from past to present day with ease, creating brilliant depth for the book which was surprisingly easy to follow. Hearing about one particular murder and how three other suicides are linked to this murder was really dark. Was it a coincidence? Maybe. But something was telling me there was a hell of a lot more to this than first meets the eye. This was an amazing start to the book, and the author has successfully managed to combine emotion and horror in a way that’s just incomparable to anything else.
“They remained in character, neither one slipping their mask so others knew otherwise. They knew each other. They knew each other well.”
Switching perspective from Joel to another character, Timothy, for a short while, was very effective and already, the mystery was seriously gripping! Hearing from this character turned things up a notch and made me so curious to find out more about The Crazy Season, and just how this affected different people. As Joel tries to find out more with just a short, cryptic email to go on, we’re introduced to his friend, Melody, who was such a likeable character. Her wit and confidence was just brilliantly written and the way she assisted Joel in his investigation made everything even more memorable. I knew she’d be such a wonderful character going forwards and that she’d really help Joel get to the bottom of what was going on. I had so many questions swimming around my head already, and just knew what was to come would not let us down in the slightest. There are few books that I think would make a successful film or TV series, but this book is definitely one of those few. I couldn’t tear my eyes away!
To my surprise, we’re introduced to another anonymous character that instantly made me more curious. This character seems to be watching Joel and Melody from afar, knowing something that they don’t. My list of questions was getting longer by the minute! Who was this person and what did they know? And how did they know Joel and Melody? More characters are thrown in the mix as we learn more about Timothy, each chapter clearly paving the way for something much bigger than we can imagine at this moment. The author continuously makes it so difficult to stop after a chapter, and I found myself having a few late nights trying to solve this whole mystery along with Joel and Melody! I was very pleasantly shocked about just how involving and addictive the beginning of this book is, and it’s clear things would only get more and more exciting the further we get. I felt such a huge part of the journey and the author sure does take you on a ride from very early on. Absolutely flawless!
Searching the dark web is a new experience for Joel, but upon doing so, he finds a whole new world – endless information about The Crazy Season, news about all those who had committed suicide hidden away from the rest of the world. We learn more about those teens who are in on some evil plan, and the reader is always only just out of the loop, the author giving us just the right amount of information to keep us satisfied, but at the same time, makes us absolutely desperate to find out more. He’s really found the ultimate balance to keep us hooked and I only became even more impressed! Joel and Melody find themselves at a crucial part of the case, and spending time away from his wife in hospital sets Joel on edge. Could he give up his daily visits to get control of this case? And what feelings does he have for Melody? Joel leads such a complicated life that no one should have to endure, and the author has created Joel’s character with such care and layers of personality and courage. The development of all characters we meet is just superb.
I really like how the perspective regularly changes from Joel and Melody’s investigation to a number of teens who have all been affected by The Crazy Season in one way or another. I found it very easy to get to know all these characters and every time a new one was introduced, I got that same excited feeling as I got when I read about the first! Each chapter felt so refreshing and there was never a dull moment. Joel and Melody discover more information from a teenager who could help them get to the bottom of this ‘curse’. They learn of a certain party involving the characters readers have already been introduced to, and I loved that feeling of knowing a little more than the characters do at this stage as Joel and Melody hear about it for the first time. They’re still far from the truth, but each piece of information they learn is a crucial stepping stone to getting the answers they’ve been looking for. The story so far was fantastic and I couldn’t wait for what was in store next for these characters!
“He wished he was young again. This way his mum would do everything for him. How easily satisfied he was. Before he’d come here and been talked into a plan that could only be evil.”
The author continues to tease readers about the secret party, but we’re still yet to find out exactly what went on that night. I had a feeling that one particular character played a big part, but exactly what they’ve done is still a mystery. We finally read more about one particular character, April, and everything she experienced before the party, changing my initial views on her slightly, but there was still more to be discovered. As one clue leads to the next and more information is uncovered at every turn, I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever find out the truth! There was still that anonymous character lurking in the shadows, sharing their thoughts with the reader without making themselves known. I had a feeling we could have potentially met this character before, or at least been told about them along the way. They also seem to have some sort of feelings for Melody, but a lot of things are still unclear at this point. I liked how we hear about the previous season in 2001, and knew that we’d soon be connecting some crucial dots…
The author continued to bring the reader into every discussion, every meeting, every interrogation, and my mind was quickly filling with news and information that I felt I had to piece together. We see how different teenagers die and just how the aftermath of that one event leads many to do unthinkable things. The memories of that one night quickly become too much for them to bear, making each of them realise that they simply cannot face the world anymore. Many scenes were saddening, but many of them also caused my curiosity to skyrocket. We still didn’t have the truth, but it was so exciting knowing that Joel and Melody were on the right track, one that finally seemed to be reaching an end. My brain was filled with potential outcomes, but I knew they weren’t nearly as clever enough as the author had in his mind. As the ending drew nearer, my excitement seemed to get the better of me and I was reading faster and faster to see everything unravel. Joel and Melody were certainly some of the most brilliant characters I’d followed recently!
Melody lands herself in trouble, the danger quickly surrounding her and making me incredibly worried for her safety! Herself and Joel seemed to have meddled too much, finding out more than they should have, and it seemed as though they’d have to pay the price. The pace was certainly picking up here as we close in on the truth! I loved how the characters Joel and Melody spoke to previously haven’t been entirely truthful, creating a much darker atmosphere to the story that we’d not seen throughout the majority of the book. Could a religious initiation have been hidden by talk of a rowdy party? What the hell was going on here?! It seemed one character had a much more interesting story to tell that had been hidden from us all along, and as we finally start to get the answers we’d been craving, I felt everything click in my head – I was very impressed with how the whole thing had been constructed! With time running out for one character, it seemed Joel would have to play hero to put a stop to this once and for all.
I loved how the book seriously picked up the pace as we got closer to the end of the story, and it’s here where we see both Joel and Melody in trouble, as well as learn some shocking truths about some characters we’ve met along the way. The author keeps the reader deeply embedded in the story whilst forcing us to think more about the bigger picture, putting all the clues and information together that we’ve been collecting in our minds. What I will say here is keep an eye on everyone… you really don’t know who you can trust! The immense detail and backstory we learn about here was fantastic, so good that I don’t quite know how the author has managed to pull it off! Everything fits together perfectly and I think this story will leave a pretty big imprint in my mind for some time to come. Despite all the talk, Joel and Melody aren’t out of the woods just yet. Could they save each other and put a stop to The Crazy Season?
“She stood up on edge ready to deal with whatever, or whomever came through the door. If she was going to die, then she was going to die fighting.”
I felt so uncertain about my favourite characters’ safety for so long that I almost got used to the idea that they wouldn’t live until the end (but would they?!) I’ll not give anything away here, but the author has crafted this ending so well and covered every base with such precision and talent that I was left a little speechless! I was so thrilled to read a whole chapter dedicated to what really happened at that ‘party’ and these discoveries were very dark. Even so, we get a really great understanding of who was the leader behind this ‘curse’ and who was involved, and we even spend a good amount of time reading from every character’s point of view for impeccable clarity. Even with all this new information fresh in our minds, there were still two very important matters to address; one being the safety of our main characters, the other being an impending explosion that would take many many lives. Was it all over? Or had we not even scratched the surface?
The final few pages of this book were such a mixed bag of emotions – they were heartbreaking, relieving, joyous, surprising and completely mesmerising, and I thought the author had nailed it! The book is rounded off well, and even though many people had unfortunately lost their lives, the story wouldn’t have had the impact it did without these fatalities. Saying this, the book’s epilogue created a whole new bunch of questions in my mind, something that would make such an addictive second book! I really hoped some of these characters would return in a sequel, and if this book was anything to go by, I whole-heartedly believe I’d love whatever this author comes up with next! A five star book without a doubt, perfect for fans of a good crime/thriller. I’ll certainly be doing more research into the author’s other books after reading this!
If this book has taught me anything, it would be to not trust anyone or anything but your instincts! And even then, they might be wrong! I was completely blown away by this complete triumph of a book; the author has create layers and layers of mystery and uncertainty, and mixed this with characters that you love, and love to hate. Joel is an incredible protagonist that we can relate to, a character you can easily find yourself rooting for from the first few pages. If you want a thrilling story to really get your teeth into, with a dark and disturbing mystery to uncover, then I guarantee you will love this book. I already want to read it again!
A huge thank you to the author, Jim Ody, and Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my copy of this book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of The Crazy Season over on Amazon, available on Kindle or in paperback. Make sure you’re following the author over on Twitter and Instagram for more updates.