Review: The Clinic by David Jester

Title: The Clinic
Author: David Jester
Pages: 216
Genre: Horror
Source: Free ARC from Skyhorse Publishing

Rating: 4 stars

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Skyhorse Publishing via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Summary: Malcom, Eddie and Darren have been friends since childhood. Malcolm and Darren are trying to make ends meet by breaking into people’s houses, Eddie just enjoys the thrill of it all. Tired of taking risks and walking away with junk, Eddie convinces Malcolm and Darren to do a bigger job. Eddie knows of a fancy, isolated rehab clinic for the rich and famous, and he thinks it will be easy pickin’. Unfortunately, there is much more to the clinic than any of the boys realize, and shortly after they make their way in, they realize they’ll be lucky to get out with their lives.

Review: To begin with, this is SO not my genre. Yes, I knew it was horror when I selected it. You know who else is often labeled horror? Stephen King and Dean Koontz. And I read them and enjoy them. That said, I always wonder why they are labeled horror because I’ve never once been scared or horrified by any of their work (not that I’ve read it all). To me, horror is more applicable to movies like Saw, The Hills Have Eyes, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You know, disgusting, overly graphic, super violent, horrific, nightmarish stuff. The kind of thing that you’re watching/reading and wondering if you can keep going – and why you even would – because they are just…beyond the pale. But I digress…

I didn’t enjoy this book because it was actually horror. Not horror lite, or pretend horror, but Saw horror. Gory, gory, gory. Violent, psychotic, over-the-top carnage. Exactly the kind of thing I have zero tolerance for (not in a judgy way, in a “that’s way too uncomfortable for me, I need a Xanax, I can’t unsee that” kind of way). So, why did I give it 4 stars if it wasn’t for me? Because even though it isn’t my genre, it delivered exactly what I’m always expecting from horror books, but (thankfully!) never get. I continually had to take breaks from it. I dreaded picking it back up again. Not because it was terribly written, but because everything happening in the story was terrible. Perfectly. Horrible.

So why, if it was everything horror should be, did I only give it 4 stars? Because the ending was weak sauce. Honestly, for all the effort I put in emotionally to continue reading, I expected way more in the wrap up. Not a happy ending (because horror, people), but one that didn’t seem like an afterthought. It just felt like the train ran out of steam when it finally came into the station, know what I mean?

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone I know because I don’t know anyone who reads this genre. But if you like the movies I mentioned earlier – Saw, The Hills Have Eyes, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre – this might be just the book for you.

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