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Dave Stern
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Shadows in the Asylum: The Case Files of Dr. Charles Marsh

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  32 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Blair Witch Project Dossier comes an unforgettable tale of madness, murder, and redemption - a story told not through a traditional text-based narrative, but instead via a series of 'found' documents - newspaper clippings, magazine articles, therapy sessions, drawings, etc. - a visual format uniquely suited to the new ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published October 18th 2012 by DAS Ink (first published December 12th 2005)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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H. Anne Stoj
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I absolutely adored this. The way it's set up, with the different transcripts, letters, email and so on reminded me a good deal of House of Leaves. The idea of seeing something and not being able to unsee it brought to mind China Mieville's story Details, which always brings to mind Lovecraft. Though the title alone makes me think of Shadows Over Innsmouth. That it's about an asylum only added to the Lovecraft feel. It is disjointed in the idea that records and letters aren't always following a ...more
Taking me straight back to White Wolf's productions in the early oughts, all greyscale copies of documents and collages of notes.

Production value on this is much better, though--the various handwriting actually looks handwritten vs lifted direct from a font.

Also, after the introduction, there's nearly no external structure; the documents are laid out in the order the protagonist would have found them, but there's no pacing, chapter breaks, notes from a detached post-climax collator... It's
Dakota Crane
I'm a big fan of immersive/epistolic fiction, so I was pretty excited to check this book out. Overall, it's pretty well done! Obviously, it would be snazzier if there were actual inserts/documents, but then I've just been spoiled to death by S. Regardless, Shadows in the Asylum stands on its own as a pretty entertaining piece of epistolic horror. It never gets downright chilling, but the supernatural horror elements are well done. From the name alone I had some concerns that it was going to use ...more
Feb 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was not my type of book, but I can definitely appreciate it for what it is. It's relatively well put together, and the story is successful--interesting and creepy. But there's a big chunk in the middle that drags kind of unforgivably. The first chunk, where you're learning about Kari and getting situated, is good. The last chunk, where the revelations come fast and furious, is good. But the middle is about twice as long as it needs to be. I'll say that I should have skimmed some things that ...more
May 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ingrid Spera
This was a pretty... Interesting read. It calls itself horror and if it were a movie, it might be. As it is, the book is a fun interactive read going through doctors notes, transcripts, newspaper clippings, etc. I was pretty sure I knew what was going on until the end. Pretty good twist. I didn't love the book, but I enjoyed reading it.
Thomas Rau
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is the third book of its kind that I've read, and the best. Still, while the form intrigues me, I'm not sure it really improves on traditional epistolary novels. This one has nice twists, a fair plot, very good design.
Andrew Boden
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Utterly convincing. Completely compelling. Wish there were more from this author.
Vince Home
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was pretty interesting but the problem with these books is that sometimes the different characters don't seem to have their own voices which makes the different perspectives of those characters not as engaging as the author may think.
Maggie Gordon
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I am a sucker for "found footage" style documentaries. Shadows in the Asylum collects a variety of documents that allows readers to piece together a horrifying story about angry spirits and mental health doctors. It hit lots of my sweet spots that I so rarely find in written form :)
Evan Hammerman
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book.

I read it in one night!

It has a lot of cultural references.

It mentioned the place I grew up in (Bayside, Queens)!

Some reviewers said it had elements of HP Lovecraft, and also Mark Z. Danielewski's "House of Leaves". So this is a great book!
Rachel Winchester
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-fiction
If you like playing Call of Cthulhu you'll probably like this book.

I Loved This! It was so fun to read. The layout was what drew me to the book, and it was done right. I was interested from page one, and had to race to the end to find out the shocking conclusion. After finishing, I looked for more books by D.A. Stern, because I wanted to read more by him.
I'm always drawn to books with unique layouts, they call to me, and just look like such fun things to read. I have been burned by books with unique layouts though. Sometimes the way the story is told can make
Garrett Zecker
Definitely an interesting read, to say the least. This book is an extremely postmodern book that takes the form of various narratives that compromise the entirety of the text from beginning to end - and the narratives themselves are not normal narratives, but are built from facsimiles that are meant to be real records from fictional people, histories, and other materials that compromise the overall story. While this is not the scariest book I have ever read, to say the least, I will say that ...more
Sarah Pavlina-Whelehan
This book was a surprise, both in its unorthodox yet oddly compelling method of telling a story, and in its ability to actually disquiet me. I have read so many so called 'horror' books, only to be not even slightly horrified. This book gave me chills. I finished it in two large sittings, as its method of telling the story moves the plot along surprisingly fast. I could easily see this book being made into a movie, and that is in no way an insult. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Oh, and the ...more
Amber Terry
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
I really loved this book, mostly because of the way it's laid out. It isn't a traditional narrative. Instead, the story is told through transcripts of the doctor's sessions with patients, letters, emails, newspaper/magazine articles, etc. The story itself focuses mainly on those shadows in the title and how they are affecting the patients at the Kriegmoor psychiatric hospital. Definitely worth a read if you like epistolary type novels/stories.
I really enjoyed the way this book was written. It is written as a series of Dr. Notes, letters and pamphlets. It was really suspenseful and I kept reading because I wanted to know what was going on. I didn't care for the ending, I would probably never re-read this again but it was not a horrible book.
Cindy M
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition maybe I shouldn't have read the end of this book when I was in bed with a head cold. I actually loved this book and was intrigued with the way it managed to somehow develop into a great story using only medical transcriptions, newspaper article clips, etc. But, the ending...I finished and said "huh"? Someone please tell me that I missed something important here due to my stuffy head!
I'm a sucker for diary format books. Along with ones that include "clippings" of newspapers. So I really liked it, but I can see where others might not. The pacing was fairly even. In all it was a fairly short read, I finished it with a few hours. Nothing but brain junk food but good.
The Dark Krystal
Aug 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes that psychological twist in their stories
The story progresses with the help of files from transcripts of sessions of Dr. Marsh with a patient, letters and the personal writings of Dr. Marsh. In a Plathian way, you don't quite see the insanity coming.
David Schumacher
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book quite good for a fiction book. Books dont normally give me the creeps but i have to say that this one did. There is a very eerie feel to it and there are parts that are down right scary, I would love to see this book made into a movie
Daniel Moskowitz
Beautifully Set up, took a lot of time, effort and care all of which came across in the book. The ending was very just, the characters were very intricate. However as unique as the set up is, there are a few cliches that have been overly used in the genre.
Auden Johnson
I find myself looking forward to the end so I could move on to something interesting. Needless to say, I won't be finishing it. Reading it feels too much like an assignment. I like the creative format and the writing but the story didn't draw me in.
Grace Rakich
May 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of horror or alternative writing styles
Recommended to Grace by: found on a bookshelf
Difficult to get into at first, but once you're hooked, it enraptures you into the world of the protagonist doctor. After a while, it felt like I really was perusing through a doctor's medical file. A bit of a misleading ending, but, overall, the book is really interesting and fun to read.
Aurora Raboin
It was very thrilling, scary to read at night, did not end the way I expectedit to,and was very pleased with the way it ended. The way the story was presented in the book was difficult to at times to follow.
David Claeys
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story. Cool idea.
Brenda Pike
An interesting idea, and a quick read. I'm looking forward to it being made into a horror movie.
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book's creepy aspects. The ending is worth the read.

*I stand by my original statement* 2020
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the creative presentation of the book via case files, research, manuscript, clippings, etc. Very artful. The beginning and end were great but it plodded some in the middle.
Kammy Jones
This will make one feel as if he/she is snooping through a medical file!
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Dave Stern has written/edited/collaborated on multiple previous works of Star Trek fiction, as well as the New York Times-bestselling biography Crosley. He lives in a creepy old house on a hill in Massachusetts, kept company by his family and a lawn of immense and ever-growing size.

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