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Children of the Dark

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,245 ratings  ·  272 reviews
Will Burgess is used to hard knocks. Abandoned by his father, son of a drug-addicted mother, and charged with raising his six-year-old sister, Will has far more to worry about than most high school freshmen. To make matters worse, Mia Samuels, the girl of Will’s dreams, is dating his worst enemy, the most sadistic upperclassman at Shadeland High. Will’s troubles, however, ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Sinister Grin Press (first published March 9th 2016)
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Dean Jonathan Janz says he thinks it will be coming sometime in 2021

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I wish all horror novels were like this! Or, at least most of them . . .

This book was great! Suspenseful and action-packed throughout. The narrative flowed perfectly, keeping me engaged the whole time. There were enough plot twists to keep M. Night Shyamalan happy. Horror fans should be very pleased with this one - I can comfortably say I recommend this book to you if you like horror.

Carl Padgett says:

But, (view spoiler)

A note
Dan Schwent
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
When the Moonlight Killer breaks out of prison, Will Burgess and the rest of the people of Shadeland live in fear of the vicious serial killer returning home...

Yeah, it's a lot more complex than that but it's hard to write a teaser than encapsulates teenage love, a serial killer, and supernatural horror without making a mess of things.

Children of the Dark is a coming of age horror tale in the tradition of Boy's Life, The Traveling Vampire Show, Bay's End, and, of course, The Body. Can it hang wi
4.5 stars!

Jonathan Janz is the real deal! Granted, I've come to this conclusion after reading only 3 of his books , but it's hard to ignore the fact that the guy can write.

In this coming-of-age tale, I could not help but to root for the young Will Burgess, who has to take care of Peach, (his younger sister), and his mom, a pill popping addict. On top of that, his dad is no longer in the picture, and he often finds himself a target of the local bullies.

Mr. Janz has the ability, just like Stephe
Jon Recluse
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, horror
Will Burgess is a kid used to the rough side of life. Raising his little sister with a mom who is mentally missing in action thanks to pharmaceutical fire, and an absentee father. Trying to survive his first year of high school, targeted by bullies....including one particularly vicious thug who happens to be dating the girl he can't get out of his head or his heart.
More than enough for any teenager.......but things are about to take a turn for the worst, with an escaped serial killer heading in
Edward Lorn
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Times like this I'm glad I have a second-chance policy for new-to-me authors. I read Janz's novella OLD ORDER and found it not to my liking. This one I enjoyed. The writing is clean and tonally perfect, but I didn't care much for any of the characters. In the end that's why I knocked off a star.

Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jonathan Janz, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, and Sinister Grin Press all made it possible for my group the NightWorms to read this book together, so a big thank you is due to all of these folks for supplying our group of 7 horror lovers with copies in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first book by Jonathan Janz, and I'm definitely a fan! Children of the Dark was a tense, gore filled, coming of age horror novel that I read very late into the night. I couldn't put this one down.

Will Burgess and h
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, arc
Author Jonathan Janz continues to amaze me with his "growth" in writing style, as shown in each successive book he pens. While CHILDREN OF THE DARK is a prequel of events leading up to his five-part novel, SAVAGE SPECIES, it has its own completely distinctive "feel". Janz has shown his versatility in his array of story lines and characters all along. CHILDREN OF THE DARK is definitely a horror novel, but also very much a "coming-of-age" tale, in the vein of Robert McCammon's BOY'S LIFE.

I have al
Sadie Hartmann
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: night-worms
Thank you to the author, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Sinister Grin Press for Setting up the Night Worms crew with copies of this book in exchange for honest reviews!

There is no greater joy as a book worm than the feeling of finishing an amazing novel knowing that the author has *plenty* more to read. I will enthusiastically consider myself a Janz Junkie from here on out.
*Non-spoiler review*
Janz does an amazing job introducing his main character, 15 year old Will, to his readers. I invested into hi
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the pre-sequel, to Savage Species. Will Burgess and his two best buddies, are dealing with being bullied at school and teenage crushes. Will is growing up without a father and a mother who is addicted to painkillers. Will also has the responsibility of taking care of his younger sister, Peach. Carl Padgett, who is known as The Moonlight Killer, has escaped from jail and could be headed for the town of Shadeland. Padgett, use to live in this town and the people are scared that he may retu ...more
Michael Hicks
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Confession time: I’ve had several of Jonathan Janz’s prior novels on my Kindle for months now, all unread, and so my first experience with this author comes courtesy of this ARC for Children of the Dark courtesy of the man himself. I’ve neglected reading Janz’s prior stuff and now feel like a giant fucking idiot for not having dived into those books sooner. Brian Keene gets a cover blurb here saying, “Janz is one of my new favorites.” Well, Mr. Keene, this book put me well over the moon and I th ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Children of the Dark
By: Jonathan Janz
Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
This book has so many different levels of horror! Just when I thought I have listed all the horrors in this book, I remember other ways this book uses horror! Great characters, the good ones are good and the bad ones, well, I wanted to throw away my morals and choke someone! The world building is great, I could picture the town and the hollows and more! Very little time in the book to get bored, something tense or terrifying is usuall
Andi Rawson
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Children of the Dark is the third novel I have read by Jonathan Janz. I’m not sure if it is my favorite thus far, because everything I have read by him has really been very good. Intelligent, thoughtful, and witty, Janz has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. My only regret is how long it took me from first hearing his name, about a year ago, to actually getting around to reading one of his books. I’m so glad that I did.

A prequel of sorts to Savage Species (which I haven’t read but s
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book read very much like an R.L. Stine book to me. If that's what I had been expecting, I would probably have loved this book. That's one of the very few drawbacks of Goodreads for me. I see what friends think of a book and then expect exactly that. Sometimes I forget that we all read differently and end up disappointed. It's almost unfair to authors because I am no longer judging their work, I am weighing it against expectation and opinion.

This was definitely a page turner, and it was a ve
Children of the Dark feels like an 80's horror movie complete with pesky inquisitive teens, a serial killer on the loose, and a small town police force who are incompetent at best. Oh, and there's a healthy dose of green eyed monsters to scare the crap out of the characters too.

Whilst I enjoyed the story, it's the characters that really shined in this one. Jonathan Janz has a real knack of writing believable and well rounded characters, perhaps to the same degree as Joe R Lansdale and those who
The Behrg
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first trip down Janz halls. Children of the Dark starts as a coming-of-age tale that is masterfully spun. If you don't come to care about these characters in the first half of this novel, there's something wrong with you. (But don't worry, there's something wrong with me too).

One of my biggest gripes with the horror genre is that gore and scares often tend to overshadow character development, and yet without giving us a reason to care about the characters it's impossible for us to feel afraid
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2017-own
Ho-ly.....crap. I could not put this book down. Every time I did I would just reach for it again.

Will Burgess is a high school freshman who plays great baseball and has a crush on a girl. Unfortunately, timing is everything and he's got other things to worry about, an escaped serial killer who eats his victims and....the Children.

Somehow Jonathan Janz manages to squeeze everything into this book: coming of age, friendship, teenage crush, family, serial killer, gore and oh yeah.....monsters. Th
The Grim Reader
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Jonathan Janz since I came across his novel ‘The Nightmare Girl’ A certain Mr Keene had dropped his name a few times, talking him up as one of the current writers of horror fiction’s strongest voices. ‘The Nightmare Girl’ was a fantastic book. I loved it. Janz grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go until its bloody conclusion. He had found himself a new fan and so I picked up a couple of his other releases in ‘Dust Devils’ and ‘Exorcist Road’……Damn! This guy is really, rea ...more
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Review: CHILDREN OF THE DARK by Jonathan Jana

Jonathan Janz is a veritable authorial genius. That's not flattery, Gentle Readers: that's fact. He is a genius of prose, and a genius of literate horror. I don't know how much time he spends on a book, but each gem is freshly polished and perfect. In my mind is a virtual library of Mr. Janz, because once I've read one, it remains forever with me. [Take, for example, THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE. I read it in 2013, and it STILL wakes me, terrified. ]

Shane Douglas Douglas
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Here I find myself writing again about the work of author Jonathan Janz. I restrain myself from going so far as to say, the great Jonathan Janz, but just barely. Every book I've read by Janz to date has been an experience to cherish. His writing is fresh, even when he's taking on an old trope, and his mastery of language is picture perfect, engaging, and captivating. And each time I finish one of his books I feel like I'm beaming with a satisfied glow, having just encountered something groundbre ...more
Alex | | findingmontauk1
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: night-worms, owned
Children of the Dark by Jonathan Janz is one of my favorite types of books!  Why's that?  WELL, let me just tell you.  It combines so many things I look forward to in a horror novel:  coming of age / kids being kids, serial killers, supernatural elements, etc.  It was such a fun read and evoked all kinds of nostalgia the way The Monster Squad, Goonies, and even Stranger Things can all do as movies or TV shows.  Janz creates a group of friends that reminds me of The Loser's Club from IT and the k ...more
Glenn Rolfe
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I got a chance to read an ARC of the latest novel from Jonathn Janz, Children of the Dark. If you're already a fan of Janz's work, you'll love it. If you're new to him, I bet you'll want to follow along.

This one serves as a prequel to his fun and gory novel, Savage Species. Just a warning, while Children of the Dark doesn't reach the same levels of viciousness as Species, it does contain some violent moments. This one though, as stated by the author in the book's front matter, plays more with a
I can say that I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It captures the essence of young people trying to grow up through some hardships. The story revolves around Will Burgess and his friends as they try to cope with life in general, plus deal with other things stirring in the town. They seem to have plenty of worries especially when legends become all too real for their town of Shadeland as creatures that live in the caverns surrounding the town start making their presence known. On t ...more
Vicki Willis
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book! It is the first one I have read by this author, but it definitely won't be the last. I stayed up way too late reading "just one more chapter". It is tense, exciting, action packed and suspenseful.
It is a coming of age story about a 15 year old boy and his friends with one part serial killer, one part monster and one part tragedy. I loved the characters and the author really made me care about Will and his little sister, Peach.
I also loved the ending. I thought it was pe
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Somehow it seems I've rated this book in my sleep, because I don't remember doing it at all! Perhaps one of 'The Children' did it, clicking five stars with their unnaturally long, pallid fingers ...


Bloody. HELL. This was a fantastic read. Granted, the first half was a little slow, but it was worth waiting as the characters were built up and the reader is made to really care about Will and his little sister. Then, Janz changes gear, really ratcheting up the action and scaring the pants of
This Hardcover book is number 14 of 60 copies printed and is signed by Jonathan Janz.

This book is number 4 in the Jonathan Janz Shadow Side Series.
Nev Murray
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"I could go on and on about Children of the Dark. It has every ingredient measured out perfectly to give you the ultimate reading experience, be you a horror fan or just a lover of a wonderful story. It’s an old scenario and an old plot if you like but this still feels so fresh. When I read a Janz book I almost feel like he has written it just for me because everything is perfect and you feel as if you become part of the story."

See here for the full review:

Children of the Dark

Cody | CodysBookshelf
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
First off, I want to thank Jonathan Janz and Sinister Grin for hooking us Nightworms up with free signed copies of this novel to review. It means a lot. Mr. Janz seems like a cool guy, and we follow each other on Twitter.

I really do not want to write this review, so I will keep it as short and painless as possible.

Maybe it’s me. It’s probably me. My fellow Nightworms loved this book, but . . . I didn’t like it. A couple of things stuck out: the story did not scare me (and since this is markete
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
3.5 Stars
I really enjoyed the setup for this novel because I am a sucker for stories involving neglectful parents. The main character and his little sister were very likeable characters. The story blends together realistic and supernatural horror, which have the novel a wider audience appeal. I often struggle with these classic “group of boys coming of age by fighting evil” and I just don't think this story was for me. I also found the writing style, clunky at times with some awkward dialogue. S
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
*4.5 Stars

Jonathan Janz has taken me on another roller coaster ride, this time I am seated beside Will Burgess, a troubled kid with a heart of gold. Children of the Dark is a master class in how to write horror.

Having read Night Terrors, I had a pretty good ideal of what to expect from these monsters. If you haven’t read Night Terrors, don’t worry about it, Children of the Dark is a prequel and can be completely enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the monsters that dwell in Peaceful Valley.

Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fun to read! While horror isn't my "go to" genre, Children of the Dark is completely action-packed. I finished this in a couple days, simply because it had all the right ingredients for an entertaining and thrilling read. The quick and clever writing style also made it an easy book to cruise through.

Like a slightly-cheesy-but-still-awesome horror movie, there were a few inconsistencies. But after all, we're talking about monsters here, so who am I to point out rules of logic? Like
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Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels. He is represented for Film & TV by Ryan Lewis (executive producer of Bird Box). His work has been championed by authors like Josh Malerman, Jack Ketchum, Stephen Graham Jones, Joe R. Lansdale, and Brian Keene. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novels Childr ...more

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