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Chasing the Dead

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"You have a very lovely little girl," breathed the voice on the phone. And just like that, Susan Young is drawn into a living nightmare.

A stranger has kidnapped Sue's daughter, Veda. But he doesn't want her money, only her suffering-and he will kill Veda if Sue doesn't follow his every command. With detailed instructions, the faceless abductor leads Sue into a blinding snowstorm on the longest night of the year, to a place she has not traveled to since childhood. The voice on the other end of the line somehow knows Sue's deepest, most chilling secret-an ominous incident from her past, buried long ago...

Across the loneliest back roads of Massachusetts, in the black expanse of a New England winter, Sue is forced to confront her most awful fears as she is met at each step by ever increasing horrors created by a monster who is surely something less than human. In the hope of saving her daughter from a kidnapper whose origin seems darker than anything she could ever have imagined, Sue will discover just how much trauma and fright the human body is capable of absorbing.

Set over the course of a single night, Chasing the Dead is a fast-paced, ferociously tense supernatural thriller. With the skill of masters like Dean Koontz and David Morrell, Joe Schreiber has created a tableau of shock and horror, death and destruction, that will draw you in and never let you go

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First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Joe Schreiber

43 books287 followers
Joe Schreiber was born in Michigan but spent his formative years in Alaska, Wyoming and northern California. Until recently, he has never lived in the same address for longer than a year. Before settling in Hershey he lived in New York, Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland (OR), and Philadelphia. Becoming a parent forced him to consider a career with more reliable income, and he got a job as an MRI tech at Hershey Medical Center. Joe is married and has two children. He is the author of Chasing The Dead, Eat The Dark, and his newest tale of terror; No Doors, No Windows, which went on sale the same day as STAR WARS: DEATH TROOPERS. You can find him on the web at his blog ScaryParent.Blogspot.Com and on Suvudu.Com, where he is an occasional horror columnist.

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5 stars
122 (15%)
4 stars
232 (29%)
3 stars
283 (36%)
2 stars
107 (13%)
1 star
32 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 147 reviews
Profile Image for Melanie.
264 reviews46 followers
November 5, 2020
It's a shame this book was promoted as a thriller because it's quite clearly a supernatural horror, although reads like an action packed thriller. I would recommend it to my thriller-reading friends who are willing to branch out into a bit of horror. The pace romps along, and although the plot's holes could have rivalled our cosmic black hole (and I'm still not completely sure exactly what the bad-guy was....evil undead spirit maybe???) I enjoyed it and looked forward to reading it each day.

3.5 stars rounded to 3.
Profile Image for Diane.
119 reviews3 followers
July 10, 2013
Let me say up front that I have nothing against the supernatural. I love science fiction and fantasy. However, I do like to know when I'm going into a book if it falls into this genre or not.

The reason I didn't like this book was because the entire first half gave no indication that there was anything supernatural going on. I was enjoying it as a mystery/suspense/thriller. Then all of a sudden, there are these supernatural elements thrown in, seemingly out of nowhere. Why?

Like I said, if you want to write a book with supernatural elements, that's fine, but be more up front about it. If I had been prepared for the change, I wouldn't have minded it so much, but as it was I was trying to solve the mystery when it seemed like this supernatural deus ex machina changed all the rules. Not a fan.
Profile Image for Ellen Colton.
6 reviews
January 10, 2014
Joe Schreiber’s Chasing the Dead was an intense book. That is the best word to describe this book, because, although it was a novel it felt like scary movie. Whenever I read it, I felt like I was in the book doing all the things that this twisted book included. Set over the course of a single night, Chasing the Dead is a fast-paced, tense supernatural thriller.

Susan Young, the main character of the book, was a hard working person who did everything she could to make a good life for her daughter, Veda. When Susan discovers that her daughter had been kidnapped by, what seemed to be a monster, she dropped everything and set off to look for her. The strange man on the other end of the phone line gave her specific and told her that if she got the police involved he would know, and he would kill Susan’s little bundle of joy right then and there. Susan knew that if she didn’t fallow the rules that this “man” was giving her she would never see Veda again, alive.

At first glance, this book looked like a story where a woman saved her daughter from certain death, the end. As I read on, it turned out to be much more than that. Instead, this was an intense story about how this brave woman had to do all these insane tasks that the man who kidnapped her daughter. Across the loneliest back roads of Massachusetts, in the black expanse of a New England winter, Sue is forced to confront her most awful fears as she is met at each step by ever increasing horrors created by a monster who is surely something less than human. This is the kid of book that people will not be able to put down, there is so much suspense and drama that pepole wont be able to stop reading until the very end.
Profile Image for Waven.
197 reviews
November 17, 2010
This read like a book based on a B-movie based on a screenplay written under duress. Not bad, necessarily, but not very good. I gave it three stars because I think I would really have enjoyed it when I was about 15. As a YA horror, it has a balance of blood and action, a couple nude scenes (but no sex), an easy-to-follow plot, and "summary" explanations toward the end. So for the 13 - 17 age crowd, it would probably be a fun read with the promise of fitful sleep to follow. But for adults, it's rather lackluster. Its potential - there are some interesting ideas - never fully develops and ends up lost among plot holes, inconsistencies, and the completely inexplicable. I think this would make a better Scream-style movie than book and can't recommend it for anyone looking for more than cursory horror/suspense.
Profile Image for Cassie.
1,419 reviews81 followers
September 20, 2009
Wow, this book was really good. It starts off just like a typical mystery-suspense novel, but soon turns into a relentless, unputdownable supernatural thriller. It was hard for me not to read it in one sitting!
Profile Image for Anthony.
220 reviews6 followers
August 4, 2016
Wow! Not what I was expecting at all. Very satisfied.
March 10, 2021
War nicht unbedingt meins, obwohl es bis zum Schluss spannend war.
Auf jedenfall was für Zombiefans🙃
Profile Image for Ginny.
289 reviews8 followers
May 3, 2022
Not really what I expected but a pretty good book,it should be made into a movie.
58 reviews
August 17, 2021
Klasse Buch! Tolle Story, sehr spannend, guter Stil. Hab es quasi verschlungen.
April 1, 2019
Excellent book that really grabbed my attention. It started off by giving a little background of the natator by telling what she does for a living and you learn a lot about the internal feelings of the narrator as the story continues. In the end if you enjoy suspense I highly recommend that you read this book.
Profile Image for BizarreLibrary.
31 reviews10 followers
January 26, 2009
Susan Young has a dark secret and she is about to have the worst night of her life. Within a matter of minutes, her world goes from normal to terrifying. Her young daughter has been kidnapped by someone who knows more about her burden than she does. In a mixture of snow, tears, and blood; Sue has to follow precise instructions given to her by the kidnapper if she ever wants to see her daughter alive again. Even if it means to literally dig up her dark past.

During her journey into the dark and cold night, Sue is forced to confront horrors long forgotten. With all the death, re-animation of corpses, and local history lessons; Sue has to understand these clues by the end of her drive, so she can save herself and her daughter.

It took me a few chapters to really get into the book, but the storyline is good and I enjoyed it. It starts off like a regular mystery novel, but things begin to get really interesting when blood starts to flow. As the book progresses, supernatural elements start seeping in and it helps round the story out.

If this book does not hook you in the beginning, be patient. It gets better and more horrific as it goes on. I would not say this book is on the top of my list, but it is definitely worth the read. I look forward to seeing what else this author has in store for us.

Profile Image for Robert.
1,078 reviews59 followers
November 4, 2010
Wow, that was a hell of a ride! I looked at this book and thought, OK the story idea sounds good - woman gets put through the wringer when her daughter is kidnapped, then I saw that the book was just shy of 200 pages. OK so now I am wondering just how much the author can fit into this limited amount of space. Now after finishing this I will say that Joe Screiber is a genius, and one scary dude. I cannot tell you too much about this book and for that I am sorry. I would feel horrible if I gave something away before a person has a chance to read this great book. Suffice it to say that this is not your average kidnapping novel. And should you choose to go along for the ride, and I hope you do, you may have the crap scared out of you. A page turner for sure this book hits the last page before you know it. And as you read that last page I hope you feel, much like I did, that last cold chill creep up your spine.
4 reviews1 follower
November 30, 2014
I enjoyed this book very much and like most people, thought this was going to be a book about some woman saving her daughter from some creepy stalker. As soon as I caught the faintest whiff of supernatural I wasn't mad because I wasn't warned about it, I was excited for it to show itself completely and just add to the intensity of the novel. Which it did and I wasn't disappointed. Something that I think also makes it stronger is how it's written in present tense. It's easier to feel the passage of time that way and just makes it even more intense. All in all, it was a very good read.
11 reviews
December 2, 2008
This is one of those books that, while crap, I reluctantly enjoy for being such all-out ridiculous crap. I finished this book because of the same sinful urge that makes me sometimes watch the Oxygen channel at 4. a.m. or crave radioactive orange off-brand mac n cheese.

25 reviews
March 7, 2017
"Chasing the Dead" is a novel that will give you the chills and the creeps. I liked this book because once I stared to read it, it was hard to stop. "Chasing the Dead" will grab your attention and force you to keep turning its pages until you have reached the end.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
63 reviews4 followers
June 1, 2014
I just could not stop reading this novel. Started this morning and finished this afternoon! I had to see what would happen next! Definitely a page turner for anyone who loves suspense!
Profile Image for Vicky.
896 reviews70 followers
May 13, 2015
Lots of bad scores for this book but I liked it. Fast easy horror read.
Profile Image for Patti.
1,876 reviews
July 12, 2015
It was OK, but it felt like something I had already read. Nothing special.
Profile Image for Kaine Andrews.
Author 13 books26 followers
January 23, 2018
Chasing the Dead is a bit of a grab bag. It starts off with an appropriately mysterious meeting between a pair of children, moves to a busy mother's innocuous day that we know is leading to trouble, and then begins a fast-paced thriller chase that keeps inching up the scare factor.

Then, about halfway through, it starts falling apart. It begins to introduce more overtly supernatural elements - which isn't really a problem, in my view - and makes it more apparent that our plucky heroine is not dealing with an I Know What You Did Last Summer revenge scenario. Then we get mired in a twenty-page info dump that seems heavy-handed and ultimately useless; leaving certain aspects unrevealed would have been more satisfying in certain ways, I suspect. Worse, it doesn't explain - or provide an adequate one - certain aspects of the mythology that seem as though they would be just a teensy bit more important. The final showdown is an unintelligible mess that left me rereading the pages multiple times, trying to visualize how the actions described actually occurred... I still don't think it works the way it's presented. Tack on a suitably sequel-baiting "dun-dun-daaaaaah!" epilogue and we're there.

The writing is done well enough for the most part, but the writer's over-reliance on metaphors - including one memorable line describing "a high, sick stench that defies metaphor" - starts to grate after a while; the constant present-tense, while doing an admirable job of keeping the tension level high, seems out of place in some sequences.

Overall, I don't regret reading Chasing the Dead, but it's not something I'd go out of my way to recommend or read again, either. It was an easy way to spend a few bathroom breaks, a quick read, offered a couple of cheap thrills, and will ultimately be forgotten.
Profile Image for Ryan.
73 reviews8 followers
May 10, 2020
This book is a trip... and I can't decide if its a good one or a bad one.

I came to Joe Schrieber by way of "Death Troopers," one of my favorite Star Wars novels (and one of the two genuine horror novels in the franchise). But I also know him from "Red Harvest," which is one of the worst Star Wars novels I have ever read. So, I came into this book well aware that Joe has a range to his writing.

I've read reviews of this book that were angry because they felt the supernatural elements came out of nowhere. They did not. Anyone paying a minute amount of attention can tell within the first few chapters that this will be a supernatural horror. And I love supernatural horrors, so this pleased me... at first.

The problem?

I saw all the twists coming a mile away. I literally predicted them early on and wasn't wrong about a single one of them. Some of the other plot elements felt really outlandish, even for a horror novel about the ghost of a centuries-old serial killer who can raise the dead and possess their corpses. I wasn't too fond of all the exposition dumps either. There are a few, mercifully done through dialogue, but none of them felt exactly natural.

So what did I like? The lore behind the backstory of the novel's antagonist gave me Blair Witch vibes. I'm a huge Blair Witch fan, so kudos for that. The pacing was also great for a novel like this. I blew through it literally in a few hours. This book is better than "Red Harvest" and sadly worse than "Death Troopers."

So, solid 3 out of 5 for me.
Profile Image for Michael J..
741 reviews18 followers
April 4, 2019
This was my first encounter with the writing of Joe Schreiber, and based on this book there will be more.
I was looking for a different book (Kill Creek by Thomas Scott) while visiting the Zionsville, Indiana public library - - which they didn't have on the shelves. On the same section of shelving, the title Chasing The Dead caught my eye. I picked it up, scanned the summary on the inner flap, and decided to give it a go. So glad that I did. I devoured this book in less than two days.
The novel speeds forward at a relentless pace, covering the events of a single long night in wintry Massachusetts along the backroads from small town to small town. If this had only been about a demented serial killer with a penchant for forcing the parents of his young and innocent victims on a scavenger hunt of sorts it would have been creepy enough. But Schreiber does more than that by including the creation of a centuries-old Puritanical child-killer whose influence and power extends into the present, very creepy invention and something that separates this novel from the similarity of rest of the pack of like-minded stories. You won't be disappointed, and the eerie apprehensive feeling won't stop you from shivering until you reach the final pages. Recommended.
Profile Image for Alton Motobu.
640 reviews1 follower
December 7, 2022
One and a half stars - first 100 pages were exciting thriller about mother's search for her 2-year-old daughter kidnapped by a sadistic killer, similar to a David Morrell or Harlan Coben suspense novel. She finds her alive on p. 103. Then story takes an absolute bizarro turn as it becomes a zombie story, sort of like The Walking Dead. This was so unbelievable it was almost comical, but there are so many loose ends, factual errors, and unexplained plot lines that it was not funny. One of the most glaring errors -carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas detectable only by a special detector, but this is author's exact wording on p. 107: "Closing in, the van starts moving again, Sue tasting carbon monoxide in its wake." I reread this multiple times to make sure I was really seeing it. How could the author and the editor miss this obvious mistake? Another oddity: events take place Dec. 21-22 but there are zero references to Christmas in the entire novel. For fans of suspense/thriller stories, stick with Morrell or Coben.
495 reviews
June 8, 2019
I like thrillers. I like horror. I like supernatural themes. I like to know which of those I'll be reading when I start a book. Chasing The Dead is a messy conglomeration of all those, something I was not aware of when I began reading.

Chasing The Dead starts with a kidnapping and a distraught mother assigned to complete some tasks in order to get her little girl back. It soon devolves into a horror tale without any clear delineation. Two stars for a strong start; none for making me wish I'd just abandoned it.
Profile Image for Edward Taylor.
518 reviews19 followers
February 14, 2018
Went into it based upon my love for Joe's other books I read (No Doors, No Windows and Death troopers) but what I got was a different taste of his works all together. Great first book, awesome and quick read with a lot of character development and my only complaint (and what keeps it from being 5 stars) is the length. I am a voracious reader at times but this one is less than 300 pages (247) and I consumed it in 1.5 sittings (less than 2 hours)

Now to check if there is a sequel!
March 31, 2020
I was very impressed by this book. This was a random book I had on my bookshelf and when I started reading it I couldn’t put it down. It was very fast paced and suspenseful.

I will say that when the paranormal/supernatural genre started at first I questioned what was happening. Once I got past “oh this is what this is now” I felt the story was still very intense. The book kept my attention the entire way through.
11 reviews
September 6, 2017
This book is very good for the people out there that like some gore with there books. It has a lot of twist and turns and some very unsuspected detailed scenes. This book has about 200 pages in it so its not to small but not to big either if your a reader who like something small. If you want something on the horror type of side it is still jam packed full of those type of things.
Profile Image for Sherry.
425 reviews
November 10, 2018
It ended up being a pretty good supernatural thriller but I'm the beginning I found it slow going. I had a hard time getting into the story and couldn't quite suspend my belief enough to buy the plot. When that finally happened, everything clicked into place and I tore through the rest of the story.
Profile Image for Melissa Keenan.
86 reviews
July 6, 2020
Different than I was expecting, which I enjoy. The ending didn’t live up to the rest of the book or I would have rated higher. Not simply a mystery or thriller - more along the lines of Dean Koontz or Stephen King.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 147 reviews

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