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1987 “Does it burn in the dark?”

Reid is a bully, but he’s still Alex’s best friend. When Reid pushes Alex and their friends into invading a historically haunted Massachusetts house, Alex knows it’s a terrible idea, but indulges his friend. What could go wrong?

Inside, a mysterious Shadow looms in the darkness. The door to the house vanishes, leaving them trapped. The group flees through the tiny, one-roomed house that defies logic, constantly shifting, presenting them with new doors, hallways, and rooms that seem to be plucked from their memories and fears. One by one, the Shadow hunts them, intent on burning them all from within.

Is there any way to escape? Or will they be burned from the inside out?

Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2019

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D.M. Siciliano

4 books35 followers

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5 stars
48 (26%)
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48 (26%)
3 stars
46 (25%)
2 stars
25 (14%)
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11 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 71 reviews
Profile Image for Cam.
980 reviews2 followers
December 23, 2019
Thank you Netgalley and publisher for this book to review. I knew from the cover of this cover there was a good chance that I would like this book. I really enjoyed this horror. In a small town there is a house that stands in the woods that no one discusses. It is known to be haunted. 5 teen friends decide to check out the haunted house and they relieve fast that they stories that were told are becoming a reality.
Profile Image for Nick.
123 reviews21 followers
December 6, 2020
More 80’s nostalgia!

I can’t get enough of these 80’s set coming of age horror stories right now. Having just read Within the Woods and watching Stranger Things I was eager for more and this book certainly fed my appetite.

Set in 1987 the story follows five teenage friends who decide to visit an old abandoned house in the woods which everyone in their small town is aware of but refuses to discuss because it is haunted with evil. The teenagers are going to find out just how true this tale of a haunted house is.
Within minutes of entering the house the door they arrived in vanishes leaving them trapped as smoke starts to rise from a fire. A hatchway appears which they climb through, but they come to realise they are trapped as they pass from room to room with the creepy evil playing with their minds.

The teenagers have their own personalities. A nerd, a quiet one, the loyal one, the bully and the tomboy. There are themes of the importance of friendship, love, dealing with abuse and redemption. There is one issue that resonates with me strongly and that is cancer. Chapter 35 features cancer destroying one teenager’s life. I can relate to this as in the 80’s one close family member survived cancer while a friend was killed by cancer. The ultimate evil.

As the story unfolds it is clear that no one is safe from this evil haunted house and the teenagers must be strong and fight to survive. The book then finishes on a very unexpected ending, but never the less, one that fits the story.

More 80’s coming of age nostalgia up next in Devil's Day.
Profile Image for Yvonne (The Coycaterpillar Reads).
653 reviews200 followers
December 24, 2019
I hope you are all ready to sit in the corner and rock your way through this review. Inside, looked like the poster for the latest horror movie – this apt title hides the deeper meaning to the story. Huge revelations, relationships pulled so taut that they threaten to snap. This book has you standing on the precipice of hell, the flames threatening to lick at your heels, the heat seducing you within. A house is just bricks and mortar, right? Wrong – the house was built with the devils’ hands, each brick more evil than the last. The house embodies a threatening shadow using your fears to destroy and weaken you. Don’t rely on your Nike’ because you can’t outrun hell.

Reid one of our five protagonists has the bright idea of breaking into a haunted house. He bullies his friends into joining him. The whole town know the house is evil, they don’t know what haunts it or why – they just know its hell personified. The premise of the house emitting an extreme heat – like hells own personal gateway. The awful truth of what lies within had me scared right from the start. The reader doesn’t have time to ponder the what’s before it all goes sideways. The evil and the fear instantly make itself known like being thrown into the eye of the storm.

Not one of the protagonists wants to back out. They want to prove their worth, their courage and Reid uses all the bully-boy tactics in the book. It becomes very clear that they aren’t going to get out of this easily. They are faced with shifting walls and windows and the main exit disappearing. The house becomes a living and breathing entity. Fear and loathing become king. These initial scenes gave me such a palpable sense of dread, the words came to life and threatened to choke the life out of me. The Protagonists have no clue to what lurks in the dark but boy oh boy does the author know! This made me check my shoulder and windows whilst I was reading. My chest felt like it had been pumped full of icy cold dread and I was completely here for it. The story encapsulates teenager’s innocence and stamping all over it.

How long can five friends stay strong for one another? The evil picks apart their psyche, taps into their biggest fears and it plays them off against each other. Its creeping presence hunts the characters one by one and breaks them down so that their mind is broken but also with the intention of breaking their physical form too. Would anyone survive the ordeal? The narrative was explosive. The book, from the very first page was pulse pounding – to the point I thought my skin was going to tear and blood spurting from within. Childhood was forever destroyed but the author also brought to the forefront the dark and deep nature of traumatised upbringings. The storytelling was irresistible to the horror lovers. The author has brought together two frightening narratives spanning the evil within the house and deep nature of childhood. This is a book that runs parallel with the essence of childhood – some don’t make it out alive.

The moment I closed this book it has been haunting me…it reminds so much of Stephen King’s earlier work. It was so gripping; the tension was ratcheted up with a cold dread that had me questioning whether I needed to turn the heating up. If this is a debut…well the author is going to have a very successful career ahead of her.
Profile Image for Keith Chawgo.
467 reviews15 followers
January 16, 2020
Inside is a claustrophobic horror novel which ticks all the boxes masterfully. Siciano has done an expert job of keeping this tightly scripted whilst ensuring a deep understanding of her characters.

Inside is an interesting novel that deals with teens and their relationship against a horrifying ghost story that makes some interesting plot twists that are quite hard for the reader to deal with. This sets this book apart from the other fiction dealing with adolescence and the difficult relationships within the team. This is brilliantly done.

The characters are very real and act within their natural form of their personalities. Their decisions fit well within the framework and each character fully fleshed out. Siciano has shown that dealing with a cast of five main characters and ensuring that they have equal time and back story fully explored without lots of narrative tedium. The author shows that she has the talent and knowledge to be able to measure this out expertly.

The plot is harrowing and difficult to digest due to the life threatening scenario the main characters find themselves. This page turner delves into the readers emotional psyche as each of these characters lives are left in peril. It is emotionally charge that keeps the novel flowing. At times working as a slow burn but keeping the plot interesting is a feat within itself. The reader is fully entranced by the plot and fully invested.

Overall, Inside is an excellent novel with great characters, horrifying plot with an emotional centre that makes you feel for the main characters. Siciano ensures that her characters are not annoying but fully developed and three dimensional. Without giving anything away, what happens to these characters is very heart retching and gave me a lot of food for thought. Excellently written this is a definite winner from an author who looks to be a writer to be reckoned with.
Profile Image for Ayden Perry.
Author 4 books102 followers
September 24, 2020

This book was good.. but I also have that empty feeling after finishing this book. That feeling like it took everything out of me! It was great , had its highs and lows, made me shed a tear or two because I had grown attached to the characters but no one is safe!
Profile Image for Elaine.
487 reviews39 followers
December 9, 2019
A well known haunted house sits in the forest, empty and unoccupied for many decades. All the locals know the story of the house, and that it is cursed and nobody ever goes there. However, in 1987 a group of five young teens decide to investigate the house and see if the stories they've heard all their lives are true. Led by the ringleader, and the strongest personality out of all the kids, Reid, they each are afraid to go in to the house for fear of what they might find and also afraid not to go in, for fear of being branded a "baby" and inciting eternal ridicule and teasing from Reid.

They enter the small one storey house and within minutes, the door, and their only escape, vanishes, leaving them trapped in the house looking for a way out. A wisp of a fire starts in the fireplace and smoke rises. A small hatchway appears in the wall and, with no other options, they go through it, in to another room that should not even exist given the small dimensions of the house. As one room ultimately opens an entryway into another room, on and on they go, running from room to room, terrified, from the evil that seems intent on disorientating them and ultimately taking them for itself. Is the house alive? Is what is happening to them real? Will they ever find their way out of the house?

I practically read this book in one sitting. The group of kids are like any bunch of young teens in the late 80's (a which point I was a teen myself so I completely empathised immediately!), each with their own unique personality and likeability. I was rooting for the kids the whole way through and willing them to find their way. I could imagine the house, with rooms changing and becoming similar to rooms the kids held in their memories, playing with them, and could almost feel the raging fire and acrid smoke as the kids fought desperately to escape. A really enjoyable read with an ending I wasn't expecting. 4/5
September 23, 2020

I listened to the audiobook of this novel, and I just could not get the voice out of my head each time I'd hit pause and had to go about my life.... "watching.....waiting....."

On the surface, the story is a haunted house tale, but it is so much deeper and psychologically penetrating than any old haunted house. This haunted house has a sinister past, and is one that inhabits its victims as its victims inhabit it. I found the premise truly fascinating and terrifying. Could you imagine exploring the deep woods with a group of friends and finding the famed old house that couldn't be destroyed....you creep in....and just as you start to become scared out of your mind, you realize you're trapped. No way out....the doors and windows have disappeared; there is no way out. You don't know how much time has passed since you've been stuck in the house....hours, days, weeks? All that you know is that the house is playing on your fears, your past, and is literally "inside" of you, or are you walking inside of your own memories and fears? The house pits friends against friends and sews seeds of distrust and blame all the way up until the haunting end.

I got lots of Stranger Things and Lean on Me vibes....you know, a band of kiddos who find themselves in some unlikely and incomprehensible situations full of chaos and evil. I grew attached to some of the characters (which I always appreciate when authors have the ability to do that to me). The tension and chilling dread that ran throughout the book kept me wanting more. D.M. Siciliano certainly knows how to tell a story and turn it on its head...keep the readers guessing....and keep the readers wanting more.

**Thank you to the author for providing me with an Audible copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Bogdan.
844 reviews1 follower
September 10, 2021
I`m sick of horror books & movies that have a house in the middle of the plot, but this one deals with this subject quite well.

I remember seeing a french series in the vein of this book and it was also very good.

Anyway, I liked the chemistry between the group of our characters and also, the dark, not so happy, end.

Worth the time.
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,030 reviews260 followers
February 2, 2020
A tremendous amount of Implacable Horror, literal and metaphorical convolutions, inescapable emotions (grief, shame, rage, terror, guilt), and deeply delineated psychology populates this novel. I'm always in favor of Implacability in Horror: without it, the story is not realistic. Without it, there's no possibility of a "miraculous" twist: a rescue, a recovery, an escape. What I am not in favor of is fatalism, and that is how this story felt: vicarious suffering, over and over, with not little hope, NO hope of Redemption. So what's the point?

My other problem here (I'm not addressing the proofreading need because I read only an ARC and not the finished product--other than to say that "thrusted" is not a viable verb--possibly exists, but thankfully, rarely. Go with "thrust.") is extending the story far beyond the point at which it should have died--err, ended. The entire aftermath, to me, was unnecessary, unhelpful, and pretty much, just an excuse to "relive" it all again. I wish the book at stopped at the last scene in the House, before the "aftermath. " That would have rendered a much tauter plotline.
Profile Image for Mark Chapin.
15 reviews
October 21, 2019
What a fun read! A mix of Stranger Things and Blair Witch with some really well rendered characters and some truly unsettling moments. A great debut from a new writer.
Profile Image for Permanently_Booked.
756 reviews54 followers
June 15, 2020
When I was younger I lived in the very woodsy State of Connecticut. I would go foundation hunting with my mom and hear stories of witches who were burnt in their homes or settlers and such. We'd go to these areas and dig about looking for knickknacks. Now I don't recall much of my really little years but I am fairly certain that some of those places were areas kids would dare other kids to go into. Test the bravery, prove the ghost stories weren't real. Inside is that kind of story. Young kids taking on the local haunt to be the cool kids in school. Sometimes though, it's better to heed the warnings...

The audio is told from five POVs (Danny, Alex, Reid, Heather and Clint). I applaud a narrator that can use different voices for a vast amount of characters and stick with them throughout the book. Very well done and I will probably hear "watching....waiting" in that high pitched creepy voice for the remainder of the week in my head. The characters are your typical kids with the tomboy, the loyal one, the bully, the quiet one and the nerd. Underlying themes of child abuse, alcoholism, and cancer play well into the plot too. Though I can't say I was frightened, I really did enjoy the work that went into building this labyrinth of horror. The author effectively created a novel I could see gracing the screen of my Friday night horror movie watching. Between the narration and writing style this was a well done 1980s horror read.

Thank you to Parliament Press and D.M. Siciliano for the opportunity to listen to this advanced listening copy for an honest and unbiased review. True rating (3.5/5 rounded up)
Profile Image for Donna.
Author 7 books59 followers
April 19, 2021
One of the best haunted house stories I've read. I could feel the tension and the character's fear. Very well done!
Profile Image for Laura (crofteereader).
867 reviews32 followers
September 20, 2020
I loved the concept of the haunted house, changing and infinite and forcing the people inside to confront their inner demons. But I struggled a bit with the age of the characters. The main characters are four 13 year old boys and an 11 year old girl. Which... yes, that's a likely demographic for breaking into a haunted house, but the kind of introspective thoughts and the mature dialogue felt out of sync with what I knew of the characters from the outside. If they had been high schoolers (since this is "last hurrah before high school" it would be easy enough to switch to "last hurrah before college" and everything else would still work)

But the concept... With each character slowly separated from the group, forced to confront their flaws and how the friend group worked. Secrets and guilt and insecurities used as weapons... Brilliant. Also, the voices and shadows without forms: menacing as heck.

The character deaths were a little melodramatic, but I think that's, again, the ages of the characters. I did really like the ending though. It felt like a really solid conclusion that fit with the vibe of the rest of the book.

{Thank you to the author D.M. Siciliano for the complementary audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review}
Profile Image for April Taylor.
Author 10 books106 followers
November 15, 2019
This book starts off like many others with five kids getting ready to do something that they really shouldn’t do. But once they go inside the abandoned house, the story unravels much differently than the typical haunted house story.

There are themes about the importance of friendship, love, dealing with abuse, and even redemption. Inside is also a pretty crazy ride. You can’t ever get comfortable and the characters can’t ever get complacent because things quickly happen one after the other from beginning to end. And you can’t trust anything that happens because much of it is a trick from the home’s evil entity.

The book does lose a bit of steam when it hits Part II. The writing and editing also becomes looser there. This section of the book does become worth it at the end. Without any spoilers, I will say this: if you require your horror books to end on a happy note, this may not be the right choice for you. The ending definitely works, though, and it’s fitting for the story.
Profile Image for River LeAnn Lee.
Author 2 books1 follower
October 17, 2019
So, this book was terrifying and I mean that as a compliment. The cover is gorgeous and one that would make me pick up the book without even caring about the synopsis because I’m already on board!
This book takes place in 1987 and features a group of kids who decide to visit the town’s most haunted house just to prove that it’s all just a bunch of hocus pocus.
They couldn’t be more wrong. This house is nothing like your ordinary haunt.
I loved this book. It was intense and fast paced. The way the house transformed kept me guessing until the end and I found it almost impossible to put down. If you like Stranger Things with a little bit more horror, you’ll love this book. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Ellen.
155 reviews3 followers
November 24, 2019
A group of kids decide to explore a local haunted house the summer before their freshman year of high school. Four boys, and a kid sister who secretly follows them, break into the house after being bullied by the lead boy. As the house toys with them and they learn about it's dark past, escape seems hopeless, and the flames just seem to get hotter...
This book was scary and haunting well after I finished. Parts made me cry, and the theme of friendship and family gave me hope for their escape. I definitely won't be breaking into any spooky houses any time soon!!!
December 4, 2019
This was a fantastic read! What starts off as what seems to be a classic storyline delves into much deeper waters with each of the characters and outcomes. The more I read the more invested I became. Vivid depictions of the events taking place made it almost feel like watching a movie in my mind. The callbacks to late 80's New England lingo and pop culture were also an unexpected treat. Definitely recommend!
December 12, 2019
Siciliano takes us on a journey into a haunted house with 5 young teens who experience dread beyond imagine. But wait...are these horrors real or manifestations of past horrors they've survived in their personal lives? And is the house itself a living entity or the canvas on which their fears take shape? The book has many original themes and I found it both fun and frightening - a great combination.
Profile Image for Anne.
12 reviews
December 17, 2019
Inside is a solid haunted house novel that goes in many surprising directions. It's not what I expected, although the dark, gritty tone of the cover does a good job of conveying that this isn't the typical ghost story.

I recommend Inside to horror fans who are looking for something that's different and intelligent. If you like your horror to be dark, psychological, and a mindf**k, this one's a good choice.
Profile Image for Angie.
288 reviews17 followers
December 30, 2019
I enjoyed this book a lot. I like that the scope of the story covered a lot of years (1674-1991, to be exact). I always prefer my hauntings to be long-term and the stuff of legend.

If you like haunted houses, demonic happenings, or kid-based adventure/horror this just might be the book for you! This is a thrilling debut from a promising new author.

Read my full review here:
November 1, 2019
Not usually a horror reader, but Loved this book!! From the moment I started reading, it kept you wanting to know more!! Defiantly a spooky read!! If want a thrilling read that will keep you on your toes this is a great book for you!! The cover was beautiful and got my attention!!
Profile Image for Annarella.
10.1k reviews94 followers
December 11, 2019
A scary story with the right creepy factor. It's a fast read, entertaining and gripping.
I liked the style of writing, the fleshed out cast of characters and the well crafted plot.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
October 28, 2019
This book draws you in from the first page. Hard to put down. Very intriguing, keeps you hoping that it is a dream and everyone is going to be out and good in the end.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,744 reviews35 followers
June 30, 2020
Set in the 1980s, the adventurous kids had a Goonies or Stranger Things vibe going on at first. Its a bit of a dare: go venture into the dark, scary, haunted house in the woods and prove there is absolutely nothing paranormal about it. Reid pushed his friends into. Alex, his best friend, went along to get along. Clint wanted a wicked cool story to tell his classmates as he entered high school. Then Heather, Alex’s sister, tagged along with her snark and fight-to-win attitude.

The house has a reputation going all the way back to the 1600s and the time of local Native leader King Philip (aka Metacomet). There was human sacrifice involving a fire. Of course everyone has heard the tales. The kids don’t believe any of them. Alas, they were wrong.

I was hooked on the story at first. I really wanted these kids to have the scare of their lives yet come out victorious. At first they think Reid has played some elaborate joke on them but they come to realize the seriousness of the situation after one of the kids dies. So this isn’t the kind of story with a happy ending.

Things get more twisted from there. Each kid has to deal with some pent up angst they have, especially Reid. It was solid character building. I especially like Heather because she kept herself together the longest, pushing the guys on and on as they hunted for a way out. Yet the house and the evil shadow that dwells within were too much for them. Since she’s really the only female character (though there is a mom who is pivotal in one kid’s background), I feel she represented the ladies well.

The story did a decent job of lulling me into a false sense of security towards the end. It was over. A few characters made it out. BAM! Not so fast! The ending left me wanting to hunt that murderous shadow down myself. This book wasn’t the happy scare I was looking for, but it was good enough. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Marcus Rothenberg had a great voice for these kids. Each character was distinct and Heather’s voice was feminine. I especially liked his ultra-creepy voice for the haunted house – watching….. waiting! The pacing was good and he captured the various emotions of the characters quite well. However, his technical skills need some polishing. There were several repeated phrases or sentences. Also, several times I could hear his old recording underneath the current story line. At first I thought he was trying to do some sound effects, like whispers in the dark. However, it happened far too often for that to be the case and in scenes where that doesn’t make sense. 4/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by D.M. Siciliano. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Profile Image for Lu .
337 reviews34 followers
December 13, 2019
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

Inside is a horror story told by five different POVs: Alex, his best friend Reid, Heather, Alex's younger sisters, Danny and Clint. Prompted by Reid and followed by Heather, Alex and his friends decided to go to the haunted house, to prove isn't haunted and show others how cool they are. Scared by legends and stories the group chooses to visit the house, but at soon they enter the door vanished, leaving them trapped. Inside, a Shadow, a monster lies waiting, a fire menaces everything and, like in a videogame, they are forced to run, finding doors, escaping through windows and doors on the floor, while the house and the creature play with them, using their memories, their loved one to grab, haunt them and killing them one by one.

Inside is a terrifying story, really creepy and simply written. The characters are interesting. Reid is a bully, who lost his mother to cancer years ago and his father is an abusive alchoholic. Danny is very close to his mother, bullied for his being fat, Heather is the tougher one, refusing to do anything girly like playing with dolls and using makeup, choosing to follow her older brother and his friend. Clint is smart and loyal. Alex is protective and sincere, the most fooled by the house.
While running from place to place, trapped inside a manipulative house, they are pitted against one other, blaming each other, protecting and sacrificing one other until the shocking ending.
Profile Image for Spencer.
1,413 reviews34 followers
March 9, 2022
Inside is a story of five teenage friends who decide to explore a local abandoned house which is rumoured to be haunted, it’s an enjoyable book, but at the same time I had a few issues with it. It felt like Siciliano threw all the horror tropes she could think of at the wall of this haunted house and ran with whatever would stick, there’s a lot going on and I felt that it would have been a bit more atmospheric if some aspects were scaled back and it the plot was a bit more streamlined and shorter. However, it’s still a fun book with some interesting twists and cool ideas, if you like teen horror and haunted houses, I’d totally recommend this.
Profile Image for Emma Katherine.
271 reviews11 followers
June 11, 2020
Read my full review here: https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/20...

Opinions: In one word: enthralling! Inside is a chaotic-evil story that leaves readers with a chill up their spine and sweat pouring down their face. I am astounded by Siciliano's creations; the relationships between the characters, the modern-day conflicts in a historical setting, and the atmosphere. The chilling, eerie atmosphere was the feature that tied all of the themes and plots together - without it, Inside wouldn't be the same! Looping back around to the characters, the relationship between our protagonists was unbelievable and absolutely relatable. Reid and Alex are two distinctly-voiced young men that have no reason to be friends, yet - to the reader's chagrin - they are. I loved to hate their relationship but grew to adore the team as they developed as characters. Their progress and change was beautiful and Snowbaz-esque! Not only was Inside an entertaining and enjoyable read, it was impressionable and resonating with teen readers. The book's fifth star was awarded for the themes and motifs! Overall, Inside was a fun, quick, irresistible read that I simply could not set down. I completely recommend this to any teen looking for a thrilling twist on fantasy!

My Favourite Thing: In an attempt to not repeat myself, I will shove my feelings about Alex and Reid away and obsess over the world building and writing style of Siciliano! The background elements, including atmosphere, setting, and magic system, are what made the book magnificent. Without the chilling atmosphere, a haunted house is just another house. Without the eerie moments, Alex walking through said house is just another character minding his own business. Siciliano's attention to detail, use of adverbs, and use of sensory adjectives impressed this little English scholar and kept me engaged 100% of the time.

My Least Favourite Thing: With full intention of being frank, I did not dislike a single thing about Inside! It was beautifully crafted and deserves every horror fan's full attention. I would reread Inside in a heartbeat!
2,415 reviews
May 13, 2020
This was a really good suspenseful thriller. The storyline is well written and kept your attention from the very start. I found the story creepy and hard to put down. I would recommend reading.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Alice Moon.
104 reviews10 followers
May 5, 2020
I love a good horror book and Inside was an interesting read. It starts like a classic horror story where a group of teenagers wanna explore a haunted house. They are scared but still they wanna prove that it's nothing inside. But unfortunately they are wrong. The house is haunted by a smoky devil that wants to play a little game with them.

If they will live or not I'm not going to tell you, but if you're a big fan of horror books/movies you will find out. The book was a fast read, it has some dark fairytale characters that I didn't understand why they were in the story. But it was a good horror book.

Thank you NetGalley for this eArc in exchange for an honest review.
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