Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sorrows” as Want to Read:
The Sorrows
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sorrows

(The Sorrows #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  567 ratings  ·  172 reviews

Ben Shadeland and Eddie Blaze are the hottest young music composers in Hollywood. Fresh off an Oscar nomination, they've just been chosen to score a big-budget horror movie by Lee Stanley, the most demanding director in film. But Ben, the creative half of the duo, hasn't written a note since his wife divorced him and got custody of their three-year-old son.

Chris Blackwood

Paperback, 2nd edition, 288 pages
Published November 30th 2018 by Flame Tree Press (first published March 6th 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sorrows, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sorrows

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  567 ratings  ·  172 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Sorrows
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is a book where nightmares are born. A graphic horror story that is certainly not for the feint hearted or sensitive about extreme violence, profanity (not too much), lewd and crude sexual behavior, bizarre supernatural happenings and other situations that are down-right nasty. What a terrific and sick (in a great way) this book is, so read at your own risk to become delighted or remorseful!

The storyline revolves around two men and two women who travel to a secluded island named The So
Spooked out of my skin!


There is an island called The Sorrows that is located not too far from the coastline of California which has a castle that has been abandoned for a very long time. There were murders that happened in the castle back in the 1920's along with something happening to a research team in the 1970's and the castle was shut down to avoid anything bad happening to anyone else.

When two film composers Eddie and Ben are offered a chance to stay in the castle for a month fro
5+ stars

Terrifying, disturbing, twisted, gory, and EXCELLENT!

In fantasy novels you often hear the term "world-building" and many will base part of their enjoyment of the book on how well the author does this. For The Sorrows, I am going to use the phrase "Haunted House Building", and Janz does it perfectly. I just love what he has done here is creating a creepy castle on a creepy island and all of the related creepy lore. If you love a good haunted house story, look no further.

There area few thi
Sadie Hartmann
Film composers, Bill & Eddie go to "Castle Blackwood" to get inspired for their next musical score: A horror movie. They travel with two guests, Eva Rosales & Claire Harden (mainly for no other reason than to hook up with them). Castle Blackwood is on this eerie, isolated island with a seriously disturbing history.
The perfect set up for a horror novel.
Except, unfortunately, I had so many issues with this book that it wasn't a very enjoyable experience for me. First, I feel like I must preface th
destiny ♡ howling libraries
Ben is a famous horror film composer, but his divorce has left him in a rut he can’t seem to shake, so his partner Eddie decides what Ben needs is a month-long stay on a haunted island named The Sorrows. When the two men and the women staying with them arrive, they begin to realize that the island’s grisly, murderous past might not be over yet.

After reading The Siren and the Specter from Jonathan Janz earlier this year—and deeming it not only my favorite horror read of the year, but perh
LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!"
Quite honestly, this was some major screwy book! I'm just glad that I stuck around for the ride! When I started this book I kept thinking w.t.h? Sure that any moment I was just going to d.n.f. the damn thing. But, this story was so messed up and I thought just a few more chapters. Is it a ghost story? Satyr? Crazy dead folk? Crazy living folk? Um, yes....Man, I'll tell ya' what, I dont care how far offshore that island was, I'd have been swimming from day 2. I think I love Janz' books! Funny thi ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is seriously messed up.

I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean that in a creeptastic horror story way.

Totally. Messed. Up.

After reading a couple of Jonathan Janz's books, I realize this is his normal MO. Awesome!

With a deadline to produce a music score for a horror movie quickly approaching, Composers Eddie and Ben decide to spend some time at an island estate off the coast of California. Castle Blackwood is nicknamed The Sorrows because of all the twisted, horrible things that have h
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
If there is one thing I'm learning, it's that Mr. Janz does not hold anything back in his books! This is my third one of his I've read, and he's been consistent in dealing out the hardcore horror. I enjoyed this book. It's got a lot of action, lots of twists and turns, a great supernatural evil and is filled with lots of interesting characters running the gambit from repulsive to sympathetic. Lots of fun if you enjoy 80's B-movie horror (which I love and say in a very positive-meaning way!). Loo ...more
Sep 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a fantastic time reading this one! Loved the characters and the setting was absolutely perfect! Writing style and characters are the most important things for me and I loved both in this book. I'm a Janz junkie now! Is that a thing? ...more
4.5 stars

This was my second read by author Jonathan Janz, after his amazing 5-star SAVAGE SPECIES. While I really enjoyed The Sorrows, it wasn't "quite" as spectacular to me as SS; thus, the 4.5 rating. This is one of his earlier novels, and it was interesting to step back and see his progression as an author.

One thing that I have to highly compliment is Janz's use of characterization. This is one of his strongest abilities, I feel. His characters are real, flawed--you have moments that you love
Kenneth McKinley
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Janz's first novel and it shows the potential that he's capable of. The Sorrows is a unique take on the Shirley Jackson classic, The Haunting of Hill House and the movie House on Haunted Hill. I've always had a problem with the whole overused and tired premise of trying to drag a bunch of characters to a secluded house where bad things have happened and making it seem realistic. It has always come across as a bad B-movie with idiots for characters. Janz did a good job coming up with a reason to ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't realize when I first saw the gorgeous cover for this novel published by Flame Tree Press that The Sorrows is Janz's first novel. A number of people in the horror community have been fans of Janz since he first published with the now defunct Samhain Publishing, but I didn't become a fan until this year because I didn't know about him. Needless to say I'm over the moon that Flame Tree Press is reissuing all of Janz
Michael Hicks
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Samhain Publishing shut down in 2016, readers lost a wealth of great horror novels and up-and-coming authors. Granted, many of those books have found their way back to market in some form or another and those authors have been able to pursue new opportunities in indie publishing, either self-publishing or signing on with small presses. One of the hardest losses for me was the wealth of material from Jonathan Janz that up and vanished. Luckily, new publisher Flame Tree Press snatched him up ...more
Jon Recluse
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
A truly impressive haunted house tale, that deftly blends old school Gothic atmosphere with new school wetwork. The result is a finely balanced work of dark fiction that will please both fans of the classics as well as the folks too jaded to read ghost stories.
Janz builds the suspense masterfully, using journal entries to fill readers in on the castle's checkered history, while keeping the story moving, and the scares coming. His characters are marvelously human, their faults, quirks and errors
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well done for a first novel and a long overdue read for me since I do dig me some Janz.

There's a lot going on in this one and although it got a wee muddled here and there, Janz managed to keep it moving and there were some truly excellent scenes of depravity and violence, which of course, I enjoy.

I was also glad to see that Damien and Lee got along so well. Although Damien was top dog in that relationship. Haha.

Jonathan Janz has skills and it is immediately apparent even from his first no
Richard Derus
I read the Samhain version waaay back in 2014, but I see this is the second edition via Flame Tree Press. I'll give it a go again.

The first time through, I skipped the sexual parts...I got no dog in the man-woman fight, left that arena last century...and eye-rolled my way through some of that ever-unappealing manly-man stuff...but the horror and the eerie atmosphere have stuck with me for six years. Castle Blackwood was a stark and powerful picture. I'll see what Author Janz has done in the seco
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I very rarely accept friend requests from authors. Most of them are looking to expand their visibility, and I don't begrudge them that: it is their livelihood after all. I'm just not interested in being used like that.

However, when I checked out Jonathan Janz's profile, he was not only an author, but an active Goodreads reader and reviewer of books. And we had the same tastes, and he did not offer free material for 'honest review'.

So I never felt obligated to read him. I hate being obligated to
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Things I've learned from this book:
1. It's ok to be a 71/2 as long as you look like a Renoir girl;
2. Never go to a Castle with a shady history just to try and prove yourself (especially if you're a girl);
3. Never try to save a child in the woods unless you're absolutely certain he doesn't have a home; and
3. If all else fails, always kick 'em in the balls!

For some reason I failed to notice that this is Janz's debut novel! WHAT?! I recently read Siren & The Specter and loved it so when given the o
Feb 16, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book surely was written just for me!!! It was right up the "Ghost Story Junkie's" alley. Ben and Eddie are composers who specialize in film scores. They’ve just been hired to score a major new horror movie, but Ben has writer’s block. Eddie thinks that spending some time in a castle on an island off the coast of Northern California will help Ben get his groove back. But no one has lived there since a bunch of people were killed there in the 20’s. Only one way on or off the island...what cou ...more
Ashley Daviau
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found out after reading this book that it is Janz’s debut novel and I’m absolutely floored. I absolutely loved it before I found that out but now that I know, I’m just STUNNED that this is a freaking debut and it’s given me a whole new level of appreciation for this book! This is my favourite kind of horror, where it feels like you’re watching a movie and constantly shaking your head at the characters and thinking you’d obviously survive when they don’t because they’re total idiots but you sec ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I bought this book shortly after joining the HA group here on GR. The author is a member and guess what? He's not just there pimpin' his stuff! He's an active participant in many threads, not just the author promotion pages.

A little background, I'm not the splatter/gore/blood and guts type horror reader, that's disgusting but not really scary, at least not to me. I prefer the psychological, anticipatory dread that creeps up on you. This book was a very good mix of both types.

The story centers ar
This hardcover edition of the Sorrows is copy number 14 of 60 copies and is signed and numbered by Jonathan Janz.

This is book volume 3 of Thunderstorm Books series Shadow Sides.

Cover by Zach McCain
I'm about to ramble but this has a point, please bear with.

At the beginning of the year I noticed I had a few Flame Tree Press books to read and decided that it was unacceptable behaviour to have not read them yet so, as is my wont, I decided to do an Instgram post in which I tagged the publisher and authors of the books I had and said I would be getting to them forthwith. I then received a reply from Jonathan Janz thanking me for having some of his books to read, I asked which order he would su
Frank Errington
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review copy

I was a bit late to the party when it came to discovering the work of Jonathan Janz. As a result, I totally missed The Sorrows when it was originally published by Samhain Publishing in 2012.

When Samhain ceased operations on March 1, 2017 many great works went out of print, including this debut from one of the most popular horror writers working today.

The Sorrows presents the reader with a wonderful cast of characters secluded at Castle Blackwood located on a private island known as Th
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, kindle, arc, horror
I received this arc from Netgalley.

What a creepy, scary read. I enjoyed every page of it. A very entertaining read that I could hardly put down. I hope to find other books by this author.
Catherine Cavendish
Great to see this back in print as it is a brilliant take on a familiar trope. Who doesn't love a haunted island with a sinister reputation? Add to that a cast of characters, each with their own flaws and back stories, and all the ingredients are there for a story that starts as a relatively slow burn but then builds irresistibly to an explosive ending with a last minute twist. I loved the characters (even when I hated them), all of whom had a part to play. In among the suspense and horror, ther ...more
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second Jonathan Janz book for me, after Savage Species. Loved this one too! Never a dull moment and I agree what another poster said about the great characters. I've already downloaded the next one ...more
Jul 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely needed this book after trying so many so so stories. A group of people stay at a castle on a island with n evil that lurks deep within...waiting.
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Castle Blackwood is located on an island located off the coast of California. It has been abandon since 1925, because of some brutal murders that were never solved. Eddie Blaze, Ben Shadeland, Eva and Claire, will be flown to the island and left there. Eddie and Ben are there to try and get some juices flowing in order to compose a movie score for Lee Stanley' new horror flick. We learn more about the castle from the entries in the journal of Calvin Sheppard. The four are about to enter the gate ...more
Irene Well Worth A Read
The premise sounded simple enough as I settled in to read what I expected to be a spooky but not unusual tale of a haunted castle. I should have known after my last foray into horror with Jonathan Janz (The Siren and The Specter) that this is not an author who does "simple." While this book is heavy with supernatural horror, it also showcases the fact that sometimes the worst monsters are of the human variety. It frazzled my nerves and had me terrified over whether or not the characters I cared ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The House by the Cemetery
  • Black Mouth
  • The Wise Friend
  • Cunning Folk
  • Clown in a Cornfield 2: Frendo Lives
  • The Exorcist's House
  • Echo
  • The Willows
  • Bone White
  • Crossroads
  • Goddess of Filth
  • The House of Little Bones
  • The Montauk Monster
  • The Haunted
  • We Sold Our Souls
  • The Mouth of the Dark
  • The Dragon's Den (The Metaframe War, #3)
  • Full Throttle
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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, Caroline Kepnes, 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 Chi ...more

Other books in the series

The Sorrows (2 books)
  • Castle of Sorrows

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
37 likes · 2 comments