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Will Haunt You

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You don't read the book. It reads you.

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler--former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead--was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.

The legend is real--and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however.

By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author's deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare.

The real horror doesn't begin until you reach the end. That's when the evil comes for you.

230 pages, Paperback

First published March 14, 2019

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About the author

Brian Kirk

19 books111 followers
Brian Kirk is a Bram Stoker Award®-nominated author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, was released in July 2015. In addition to being nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, WE ARE MONSTERS was optioned for film development by Executive Producer, Jason Shuman.

His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies, most recently Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors.

Visit his website for more information, or just to chat. Don't worry, he only kills his characters.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 241 reviews
Profile Image for ✨Bean's Books✨.
648 reviews2,925 followers
February 6, 2019
Oiy vey! 🙄
"Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler--former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead--was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong.
The legend is real--and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however."
I was very excited to read this book at first. It seemed like a really creepy book and the storyline seemed really good. However the first page had me frowning when it gives the reader a warning to not read the book. It is very reminiscent of Clive Barker's "Mister B. Gone". That was the first eye roll.
The beginning of the book starts off well. A band is coming together for a reunion show. The beginning of the book I would not say is well written but is written to the point where it's easy to follow. Then after the accident things go downhill... fast.
The writing turns choppy and the author doesn't seem to like full sentences. I read a review that suggested its likeness to "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski, and I would have to concur. It is very much like that type of writing. It's like. The sentences. They just aren't. Written in full. I'm not joking there are actually sentences like that in this book! 🙄
Although this book had a good story in the beginning I have to say that the writing was very poorly executed throughout the rest of the book. I'm sure that the author is trying to convey some sort of feeling of creepiness or possibly urgency with this type of writing. and that may work on some but unfortunately it did the absolute opposite for me.
On top of all that after the accident portion of the book the story becomes so complex that it's literally chaos. There is just so much going on and it is extremely hard to follow.
I'm sure there is an audience for this book somewhere but I have to say that I would not recommend this book to anyone I know. I'm going to go lay down now, my head hurts from rolling my eyes. 🙄
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 21 books4,814 followers
March 19, 2019
This is a tough book to review. My feelings are that books of this nature are extremely subjective to reader preferences. You're either going to love it or hate it.
My guess is there won't be many reviews that fall somewhere in the middle.
The business I co-own, Night Worms, agreed to help Brian Kirk with some experimental promotional material for the book prior to its release. It was all the promotional material that led me to assume certain things about the book that I now believe set some expectations in place that weren't delivered on. If that makes sense. If I had gone into this book blind, I might have had an easier time adjusting to the premise. But since I participated in the promotional aspect of the book, I accepted the story as a certain kind of book and it wasn't that book.
Let's unpack it a little bit.
The story starts off strong. We are introduced to a traditional cast of characters, narrated by our protagonist, Jesse Wheeler.
Probably a little sooner than I anticipated, the story goes off the rails a bit and gets weird.
I can tolerate a lot of questioning in my head and I've enjoyed books like Iain Reid's FOE where answers are pretty much left until the ending and the experience is more or less just a lot of "what the hell" moments going on but Brian Kirk's telling of WILL HAUNT YOU is "what the hell" on drugs.
My brain was exhausted and frustrated and this was only 100 pages in.
Personally, this book was too far out in the weeds for me. I didn't enjoy the journey and I really wanted to--I want to be one of those readers who enjoy games and experiments.
There was too much going on with the story to really invest in the ways that I'm most accustomed to doing. I lost any personal involvement or connection with the story or the characters to really desire to push on.
And the real bummer is that if the story stayed focused on Jesse Wheeler and the "acid trip" vignettes he experiences and served as a metaphor for Jesse's personal hell or like as a means to an end, I probably could have hung with it.
It's my opinion that I would have enjoyed this book more if it wasn't for that damn 4th wall being penetrated.
I'm not the reader for that.
I hated House of Leaves and I hated Mister B Gone and I don't want any references to "you" or "me". I just want to read my fiction and not be bothered, which is weird because one of my favorite childhood movies is THE NEVERENDING STORY and that is very much about feeling like I'm a part of the story within a story, within in a story.
Perhaps it's all about execution.
And here's where I say, it's not Brian Kirk's writing. He's a phenomenally talented and gifted writer. It's just that--I'm not easily suggestible. I'm a skeptic. I don't like magic tricks. I peek around the curtain. I think hypnotism is phony and mediums and psychics are conjurors.
And now I'm rambling.
Anyhoodles, there are some really interesting aspects to this story that I think are entertaining and immersive that people will find creepy and unsettling and they'll sing its praises and love it. But I'm the stick in the mud who just wants to read my books and I don't want the author messing with me like that. Ha! Brian Kirk, get out of my mind!
I'm eager to read more from this author-a straightforward horror novel or short story.
Profile Image for donna backshall.
678 reviews189 followers
April 26, 2021
Will Haunt You is an offbeat novel about Jesse, a former rocker. He's lived a hard life, and he's doing his best to live up to who he wants to be, and to move beyond who he has been. One night after a reunion with his old band mates, Jesse finds himself in the middle of a nightmarish situation that dredges up the past he's trying to leave behind and brings fresh terror to his life.

If you've read House of Leaves, you may appreciate the staccato writing style of Brian Kirk. I struggled through House of Leaves, and found Will Haunt You even more frustrating. I want to ask what Kirk has against sentences -- you know, actual sentences. The majority of the book is written in this annoying (intended as atmospheric?) "style" of awkward fragments, which is beyond distracting. I couldn't concentrate on what was supposed to be happening. I want to say the story itself was also awkwardly constructed, but honestly, I was too perturbed to notice.

If the writing is supposed to add unnerving icing on the terror cake, then by George, it certainly worked, but not in an enjoyable way. I love horror novels, but this was an awful and tedious experience.

Here are a few examples, but be aware this book is ONE BIG EXAMPLE of short, amateurish fragments instead of rich writing:

"The dude I was just on the phone with, Solomon. Our drummer. Was our drummer, I mean. For the Rising Dead. "

"The dress was Victorian, but of a steampunk variety. Crimson with black lining. A form-fitting buttoned top with a billowing skirt, frilled at the bottom. High-heeled boots with black ribbons running up the open sides. Her eyes were unchanged. That sparkling jade."

"My words dying the instant they existed my mouth. Muffled like there's no air. A candle snuffed in space. Which made it hard to breathe. The thought of that."

I hate to say it, but I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. It was torturous to read, but not because it was scary (unless you're a member of the grammar police, then it could be absolutely terrifying).
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,283 followers
March 15, 2019
When Jesse decides to read a very disturbing book he's been hearing strange tales about, he doesn't expect anything to actually HAPPEN to him. It's just a book, right? Tell that to the strange men who have kidnapped him, or the terrifying place he's awoken in, with its awful, cruel doctors and guards. Will you make the same mistake Jesse made by reading this book?

Alright, friends, this is a tough review to write — not because my feelings are ambiguous about this book, but because some of my friends so brilliantly described everything I felt about this book in their own reviews, and frankly, I'm tempted to just lead you their ways. (Screw it, I'll write my own thoughts, but first, check out Cassie's and Kal's reviews — I adore these women to bits and they both said it all so much better than I could have!)

Okay, for my take on Will Haunt You: let me say that I was excited beyond belief to pick this book up. The pre-release marketing was flawless, Brian strikes me as a solidly excellent human being, and the entire idea of this book being the book that destroyed Jesse's life and the lives of so many before him? Of course I was feeling it!

WARNING: I read a book much like the one you're holding now. And this is what happened to me. Don't make the same mistake. Please, put it down. Or better yet, throw it away. This is your last warning. Turn the page, and you're on your own. Actually, that's not true. Turn the page and he'll be there, watching you.

I've always been a sucker for horror that breaks the fourth wall (it's no coincidence that the first film to ever scare me as a kid was The Ring, because I was so concerned that watching the movie-inside-the-movie would be enough to send Samara on her way to me), so this felt like it should've been an effortless home run — and I think it had the potential to be exactly that! Unfortunately, though, a few things just didn't quite hit the mark.

"I deserve answers. I deserve the truth."
"That's what everyone says... until they get it."

First, there's the downright strangeness in these pages. Don't get me wrong, I love a good bizarro from time to time, and there are moments where this book excels at that! On the other hand, sometimes the oddity reaches a point where I found myself constantly vacillating between "what the hell, this is so creepy!" to just plain old "what the hell". I'm actually seeing a lot of reviewers compare these moments (as well as the overall narrative style) to House of Leaves, and while I typically have a very solid rule against comparing one book to a different's author's book in a review, I wanted to touch on this because I agree with that in the sense that I think, if you enjoyed House of Leaves, you will LOVE Will Haunt You. Brian Kirk doesn't rip it off in any way at all, it just has some similarly ambiguous and strange vibes.

"You are inside your son's head." My beautiful son, Rox. I am his damaged brain.

Beyond things getting a little confusing and too strange for me at times, I struggled with the characters, for the most part. I adored Malia and wanted more scenes with her character, and I thought Cassie was a great side character as well — I definitely feel like Brian can write some awesome ladies! — but nearly all of the men were complete and total trash, and it was so hard to root for any of them, especially Jesse. I know that plenty of protagonists are written in an unlikable way on purpose, and I have no doubt that's what happened here, but unfortunately, that just doesn't work for me often when it comes to horror. I want a protagonist who's flawed enough to be human, but likable enough to root for. Otherwise, it's hard to kick up a fuss over the awful things happening to them.

Jesse is a recovering alcoholic and a former drug addict, among other things, but that definitely wasn't my issue with him. My issue with him is that, from the beginning of the book, it felt like he still didn't grasp the weight of what his addictions had cost his family (as his drunkenness played a part in his infant son's head injury, which has left him mentally disabled for life now). As a mother, I can't imagine putting my son in that position to begin with, much less being able to move on from that incident with anything less than completely life-destroying guilt, yet Jesse spends much of the novel wishing he had a different life and sounding downright whiny about what's happened to his son. We definitely get to see him progress, but I felt so biased against him by that point in the novel that it was too little, too late for me.

Finally, the last thing that didn't quite hit the mark is yet another topic that will work great for many readers, just not me personally: there's a very obvious parable sewn into this story that actually felt borderline preach-y to me at times. I appreciate a horror novel with a moral, but I typically expect them to be a little bit further out of the spotlight than this one was. Again, though, it's something that I think loads of readers will love about this story! It was just a bit heavy-handed for me.

All of that aside, please don't mistake this for a negative review; I had fun reading Will Haunt You and think it's going to find a lot of love in the hands of a lot of readers. There were so many moving pieces to this book that it was a given some would work for me and some wouldn't, but the areas in which this book shone, it really drew me in, leading me to believe I would happily read whatever Brian Kirk releases next because I have no doubt he's only going to get better and better.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Flame Tree Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for exorcismemily.
1,265 reviews335 followers
March 15, 2019
"Turn the page and he'll be there, watching you."

I don't even know what to say about this book. I had been looking forward to it, especially since the pre-release marketing was intriguing. The synopsis sounded interesting, but this book went in a different direction than it seemed like it was going to go in. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't.

I guess I would call this book experimental horror. I'm still not entirely sure what the experiment was - my friend Audra / ouija.doodle.reads suggested that maybe it was about addiction / recovery. Maybe it was, but it was never entirely clear. This story was, unfortunately, very convoluted, and I really struggled to make sense of what was going on. I feel like it was strange for the sake of being strange, and everything was disjointed. There didn't seem to be any organization to the story.

I feel like the marketing for this book was a little misleading, and so much focus was put on the book. The story opens in the middle, and it felt like there was missing content. I don't know. Maybe I just didn't get it.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
1,739 reviews2 followers
April 7, 2019
2.5 stars.

WILL HAUNT YOU, by Brian Kirk, is a novel that had a spectacular marketing line: "You don't read this book. It reads you."

Along with that, there was a "prequel story", of sorts, that could be found on some sites. The allure of a book that materialized out from nowhere, and ended up with the reader ultimately listed as a "missing person", was a concept I was excited to read about.

I mention this, because the expectations it gave led me to expect something quite "supernatural" and "haunting" in style.

The novel starts out really strong. The former metal group known as The Rising Dead, were having a ten year reunion at a local bar. Aside from more missing or grey hair, and bodies no longer in their physical prime, most of the members acted as they had a decade before. Only Jesse Wheeler had really changed. He was now sober--for seven solid years--married and with a son--selling jingles to ad companies, instead of rocking out and getting drunk every night.

". . . What the biggest mistake had been. The lifestyle, or bringing others into the mix . . . "

Then the story deviates from what I was expecting, and heads off in a different mind-altering reality.

To be fair, the writing is good. I think part of why I became so lost in the plot had to do with the fact that it was nothing like the earlier "Prologue" had led me to believe. There were some scenes where I thought I knew what was going on, but seconds later we were in some new mental state with Jesse.

I'll openly admit that I was completely confused as to the hows and whys--even after the final scene. When our main character goes from his own tale into "talking directly to the reader", I was pulled right out of the story, and never really seemed to get back in.

Overall, Brian Kirk is an excellent writer, in my opinion, but the direction this particular novel took was simply not for me.

". . . I'm the one truth in a house of lies."

Aside from not having a clue why/where this was headed, I believe my problem had a lot to do with the pre-conceived notions I got from the early marketing. If I hadn't read that, would I have seen the book in a different light?

I honestly don't know.

I would love to see Kirk write a full horror novel in the future, and get the chance to connect to his writing in a less confusing/chaotic setting.

". . . Life is mostly spent waiting for something else to happen."
Profile Image for Toni | Dark Reads.
41 reviews18 followers
March 13, 2019
This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, thanks to Flame Tree Press, Brian Kirk and NetGalley.

4.5 Stars!
I really enjoyed this book, being narrated in the first person is a huge plus for me, it gives a real insight into Jesse’s character and thoughts as he is plunged in to a relentless living nightmare that exploits he deepest darkest thoughts, secrets and mistakes and forces him to face them head on.

The beginning of the book was brilliantly creepy, I was hooked from the first page! I felt the story lost a little momentum in the middle of the book and got a little confused for a minute, but things soon came together as the story moved on and the suspense soon picked up again. The creeping feeling of dread was never far away with this book.

I loved the notion of never being 100% sure of what was real and what was fantasy, the raw vulnerability of a person being forced to face the darkness in their own mind, and ultimately how sometimes the mind is in control of the person and not the person in control of the mind.

Psychological horror at its best.

The book raises lots of questions for the reader, I just love ambiguity in a book, Kirk didn’t give me all of the answers which was great!

This is my first Brian Kirk read and it won’t be the last.

I would certainly recommend this book, it was depraved, creepy and mind bending.
Profile Image for Josh.
1,649 reviews154 followers
March 27, 2019
Will Haunt You is pure unadulterated horror.

Through a Haze of distorted reality, the reader becomes part of the story, following a steady progression into madness along with the characters.

For Jesse Wheeler, a retired band member of an almost famous rock group, the horror begins with an unfortunate incident which results in his young son sustaining injuries leaving him permanently disabled. Despite being able to salvage his marriage and continue caring for his son, Jesse’s mistakes fail to remain in the rear-view, thanks to a mysterious and dangerous book which threatens to take everything from him.

Will Haunt You is a truly terrifying tale with every turn oozing horror; nightmares in basements, dread lurking in hallways, science experiments hunting in forests, faces behind secluded cabin windows peeking through glass at their prey, etc.

Some of the vivid dream-like imagery is so elaborately macabre my stomach churned and the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention – exactly what I want from my horror fiction.

My rating: 5/5 stars. One of the best horror books I've read this year, if not all time. I loved it.
Profile Image for Mindi.
862 reviews270 followers
February 11, 2019
This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I've been reading some reviews and I'm noticing a lot of people are making comparisons to House of Leaves. I loved House of Leaves, and I know that quite a few people really did not. Some of my closest friends really dislike that novel. I never made that comparison while reading Will Haunt you, but I can see it after the fact.

Essentially, I love books with a bit of ambiguity in the ending. It's really like an invitation by the author to decide what you think ultimately happens. So perhaps that's why I really enjoyed both House of Leaves and this book. Kirk doesn't give you all the answers. And I like that. I don't mind an ending that resolves everything and ties up the story with a bow, but I also don't care to be spoon fed information.

Will Haunt You keeps its secrets until the end. For most of the book you really have no idea what's going on. And that puts you in the protagonists shoes. The frustration you feel mirrors his. That frustration didn't bother me. I know that if you keep reading, things that make zero sense will eventually become clear. However, I was a bit frustrated when the book slowed down a couple of times. It starts super strong, gets really weird, and then there are these down periods that I felt slowed the story down a bit too much. However, those moments certainly didn't ruin the book for me, and I was intrigued the entire time.

So you have a dark, ambiguous ending that makes the reader question everything that happened. These are the kind of books that I dig, but I know a lot of people need their horror to be more straightforward. I really enjoyed this one. If you like a bit of ambiguity in your horror, I think you will too.
Profile Image for Michael Hicks.
Author 36 books442 followers
March 5, 2019
My review of Will Haunt You can be found at High Fever Books.

Aging rocker, Jesse, has a bit of a problem. A mysterious radio broadcast fills his ears moments before his car crashes, and he finds himself fleeing into the nearby woods, chased by identical twins and strange creatures. It’s a lousy way to end a night that should have been spent celebrating the final performance of his band, Rising Dead. A recovering alcoholic, he should have been sipping seltzer and getting home early to his wife and son. Instead, he finds himself ensnared in a conspiracy far beyond his understanding, targeted for reasons he’ll never know. All because he read a stupid book.

Brian Kirk’s Will Haunt You is told entirely from Jesse’s first-person point-of-view, and readers will no doubt find themselves just as mystified and confused by the perilous, bizarre situations Jesse is confronted with. Jesse, of course, has no idea what the hell is happening, or why, but we’re in this together, our knowledge equally, and frustratingly, limited.

Once things kick off and we’re plunged into the thick of things, Will Haunt You is positively terrifying, and Kirk delivers what may be some of the best horror writing of the year thus far. The atmosphere induces an instinctual dread, coupled with the sheer craziness of the situation we’re launched into. It’s a chaotic and confounding assault on the senses. We don’t know what is happening, let alone what could happen next. Just like Jesse, readers are denied any sort of information or hints as to why these things are occurring or who is responsible, and it’s legitimately scary stuff. The total denial of information is wholly unsteadying. Almost immediately, the rug is pulled out from under us and we’re forced to run headlong into the dark, completely ignorant of what’s out there. Kirk’s writing is highly effective and he makes Jesse’s nightmare ours, whether we want it or not.

I can’t help but compare Will Haunt You to the David Fincher film, The Game, with Michael Douglas. There’s a measure of alternate reality gaming-cum-plot, although Will Haunt You is far more conspiracy driven. It also breaks the fourth wall on occasion. Jesse is fully aware that we are reading his story and that Will Haunt You is, literally, his story. He’s written this book as a warning, but the fact that you’re reading it at all means it’s already too late. They’re watching you, and you’re next!

How well these disruptions in the narrative work will vary by reader. It’s simply a matter of how willing you are to suspend your disbelief and play along, as it were. Personally, I found these moments of direct communication to be a bit clunky, and when they first occurred I found them to be the equivalent of an ineffective jump scare. It just didn’t work for me, and I’m not really a fan of this technique to begin with. I’m also not able to suspend my levels of disbelief long enough to take Jesse at his word. Rather than taking me deeper into the story and its alternate reality, it did the opposite, reminding me that I am just reading a book. Granted, it’s at least a book that is otherwise skillfully told and highly engaging. I would have much preferred to know more about the book Jesse read that dragged him into this whole affair, but instead that particular text is a barely discussed MacGuffin. We don’t get to know much about the book Jesse read, other than it’s a commercially, widely available read that anybody could purchase. Will Haunt You, itself, physically, takes on the role of plot device, becoming both object and subject, with frequent warnings aimed at the reader. It’s an interesting experiment, and I have to applaud Kirk for attempting something different, even if these ultimately minor elements didn’t fully work for me.

I also have to give Kirk credit for making Jesse a tragically flawed monster in his own right. Jesse is an alcoholic, a liar, and a cheater, but he’s also trying to redeem himself, even if he doesn’t particularly want or value that redemption. Readers who need a likable protagonist will find that Jesse falls well short of the mark, often and repeatedly. Reading Jesse’s story is a study in conflict, vacillating between wanting to see him punished for his various misdeeds, but also rooting for him to find some degree of answers just so you know what the hell is going on. Those answers, though, don’t come cheaply or easily…for anybody.

Will Haunt You is a consistently engaging meta narrative, even if its experimental form does take a few minor stumbles on those rare occasions when the story’s artificiality attempts to assert itself upon our own reality. This is ultimately a minor quibble. Taken on the whole, Kirk’s story is brutally, oftentimes maddeningly, engaging and presents some of the best, and most sustained, WTF?! sequences in recent memory.

[Note: I received an advance reading copy of this title from the publisher, Flame Tree Press.]
Profile Image for Jessaca Willis.
Author 27 books228 followers
March 14, 2019
I read a book much like the one you’re holding now. And this is what happened to me. Don’t make the same mistake. Please, put it down. Or better yet, throw it away. This is your last warning. Turn the page, and you’re on your own. Actually, that’s not true. Turn the page and he’ll be there, watching you.

/ \
/ | \

And that’s how you start a novel!

3.5 stars

I enjoyed a lot of this book! The opening scenes were creepy and terrifying, and had me looking over my shoulder anytime I’d read the book.

Will Haunt You kind of reminded me of a game called Eternal Darkness: Requiem for Sanity. Anyone familiar? In the game, you watch the MC’s sanity slowly deteriorate. Kirk uses techniques throughout the book, at crucial moments, to illustrate something similar.

I staggered towards the far do0r. Stopped, and shook my head. Not do0r, door. Imposter words invaded my mind, spoken through a mental ventriloquist. Hijacking my helium. I mean, my he4d. Too much was happening t0o fast.

The random misplaced words and letters eventually simmers down, but what’s left behind are choppy, frantic sentences that continue out during Jesse’s mental distress. I’ve read reviews of people finding this sentence structure/flow irritating though. For me, I thought it fit for the story.

And it’s not like Cassie had to settle, either. No, we made our bed together, but she sleeps in it more soundly than I. Grew into this life with its limitations like a rose through a cracked sidewalk, while I grind my teeth and stew with resentment and ponder the what-ifs and fantasize alternate scenarios like I deserve them more than her.

Jesse is a fascinating main character and made Will Haunt You an enjoyable read. He’s a middle-aged man, recovering alcoholic, former guitarist in a band, who has “given up” much of his aspirations and individuality in the name of parenthood. I felt like I know Jesse. I’ve met him in the other parents I interact with, making him both depressing and genuinely believable. But hey, he’s not 100% miserable—Jesse is also hilarious.

“So, what? Just walk in and announce ourselves and put ourselves at their mercy?” “Pretty much. I mean, what’s the alternative? You show off your big stick and demand Rox back or you’ll start bashing heads?”

Sadly, it was the second half of the book that I found less interesting and compelling. I’m not a huge fan of stories within stories, but this happens a number of times in the second half, taking the reader out of the story and shoving them into a past that could’ve been wrapped up in a few sentences rather than a few pages...

The ending itself was also slightly unsatisfying, I think because the second half of the book was pure build-up, so by the time the end happened, it felt anti-climactic. I think Kirk would’ve been better off .

Overall though, not a bad book. I think it’s biggest issue is just that it started so strong and scary, but ended like a dud.
Profile Image for Helen Power.
Author 10 books534 followers
March 8, 2020
Will Haunt You is a mind-bending horror novel about a book that delivers the readers’ greatest fears upon themselves. What an amazing concept.
At times the writing is convoluted and nonsensical, and I think the writing would have benefited from a little more focus, pinpointing individual fears rather than relying on a strong writing style and sense of dysequilibrium--both in the writing style and in what was happening--to deliver most of the horror to the reader. This was effective at times, but I most enjoyed the parts where Jesse was worried that his awful secrets would rise from the dead like the name of the band he was once a part of.
There were points where the way that Jesse describes the women in the book were almost laughable and pulled me from the horror of it all--any time a man refers to “pert tits”, I can’t help but chuckle. That said, his wife, Cassie, is an interesting character, and I would have liked to have seen more of their relationship and how she has handled the events leading up to what happens in this novel.
Ultimately, this is a compelling and horrifying story of a man that has a lot to atone for. I’m giving it 2 stars because it wasn’t my cup of tea, though others will definitely think differently.
Profile Image for Frank Errington.
738 reviews57 followers
April 11, 2019
Review copy

I finished reading Brian Kirk's latest novel over a week ago and put off writing my review to allow this story time to gel in my mind. Or, maybe ferment is a better word. The whole concept of Will Haunt You is a bit of a mind-altering experience.

I've taken the liberty of paraphrasing the story's synopsis, it does a better job of explaining the premise than I ever could...

Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the corners of the dark web. A tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror.

Jesse Wheeler—former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead—was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book.

But Jesse is wrong. The legend is real—and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on and resurrect the ghosts from his past.

Jesse is not the only one in danger, however. By reading the book, he has volunteered to participate in the author’s deadly game, with every page drawing him closer to his own personalized nightmare. The real horror doesn’t begin until he reaches the end.

That’s when the evil comes for him.

There's even a warning at the beginning of Will Haunt You. One that flat out tells you if you continue reading the author won't be responsible for what may happen to you. Nice.

This is one of those stories where the line between what is real and what is imagined dissolves rather quickly. I found Will Haunt You to be like a season of Channel Zero on SYFY. Only, instead of having the reaction of "What did I just watch?" it was "What the hell did I just read?"

While undoubtedly Brian Kirk's best work to date Will Haunt You left me a bit perplexed. Let me put it this way, while I really enjoyed the ride, I had no idea where I was when I arrived at my destination. About Halfway through, I noticed the first letter in each word of the title spell the word WHY. Why, indeed.

Recommended, but be prepared for the weird.

Published by Flame Tree Press, Will Haunt You is available in hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audible formats.

From the author's bio - Brian Kirk is an author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, We Are Monsters, was released in July 2015 and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. During the day, Brian works as a freelance marketing and creative consultant. He lives in Atlanta with his beautiful wife and rambunctious identical twin boys.
Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 22 books466 followers
March 13, 2019
Well, that was odd.

WARNING: I read a book much like the one you're holding now. And this is what happened to me. Don't make the same mistake. Please, put it down. Or better yet, throw it away. This is your last warning. Turn the page, and you're on your own. Actually, that's not true. Turn the page and he'll be there, watching you.

I guess I'm being watched now because I ::gasp:: turned the page.

Okay, so I honestly don't know what to say about this story...it's weird, it's confusing, you have no idea how reliable the narrator is, and have I mentioned it's weird? Not surprisingly, it would appear I enjoyed this more than many reviewers, and from what I've read, their complaints are legit. However, Will Haunt You was genuinely creative. That's a rarity these days, so I was personally willing to overlook some minor issues I had if it meant I was able to read a novel with a fresh perspective.

Told from Jesse's first person point of view, the book began when he joined his band mates on stage for the first time in a decade. Seven years sober, he planned to enjoy one last hurrah with his friends, and then head home to his wife and disabled son.

But things went awry.
Very much so.

From that point forward, the book felt a bit like it was on drugs--hallucinating and blacking out, only to wake up in a new place and time, with no concept/memory of how it got there.

Is the writing a bit clunky? Yes.
Does the story leave many unanswered questions? Yes.
Will you be rolling your eyes on one page, yet be totally engrossed on the next? Yes.

Give it a chance...it's good fun.

**Thanks to NetGalley, Flame Tree Press, and Brian Kirk for a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Mercedes Yardley.
Author 83 books296 followers
April 23, 2021
Brian Kirk is a brilliant writer whose works are both horrific and full of heart. I'm a huge fan of We Are Monsters and especially his short story "Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave." Will Haunt You starts out linear and then goes all over the place in an acid trip of sorrow and gore. I love his writing, and I love the breaking of the 4th wall. There were moments of real horror and several uncomfortable scenes. I expected a different book based on the phenomenal marketing campaign, and I think that expectation colored my opinion. If I had gone into this totally blind, I would have had a different experience.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,807 reviews795 followers
August 2, 2021
Hmm, I’m right in the middle with this one, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. Some parts were incredibly interesting and at times I was thoroughly enjoying this novel and convinced it would be a five star read because there’s nothing I enjoy more than a book about a book, added bonus if it’s a horror story! This one had some original and unique ideas that I really did enjoy but then certain elements got thrown in and it threw me off and suddenly made me unsure of what I was reading. There’s some things that happen and elements that get thrown in that I just don’t see why they were necessary or how they advanced the story, it almost seemed they were there just to amp up the crazy factor of the plot and stretched my imagination a bit TOO far and dialed down my enthusiasm for the story. I did enjoy the pure weirdness though, there was lots of it and I thought it was brilliant, if only the dose had been cut down a small tad so I didn’t feel like I was overdosing. The concept is SO good though, I still can’t stop thinking about it and looking over my should just to be SURE. So you see what I mean, I’m just right in the middle with this one!
Profile Image for Jamie.
141 reviews23 followers
March 6, 2019
Will Haunt You was an enjoyable read for me. There was a fair amount of creepy social media publicity for this book, and I think that added to the experience for me. For me, the highlights of this novel were the characters, pacing, and the sense of unease throughout the story. I felt invested in Jesse's story, and cared about the well-being of his family.

While I do enjoy a slow-burn story at times, I'm typically a reader who prefers a fast-paced tale. Will Haunt You picks up rather quickly, within the first few chapters, and then from there it's mostly a fast-paced ride. This story has many elements of horror that I enjoyed- just enough gore, suspense, and creepiness to keep me intrigued and turning pages at a fast pace. The only thing that I struggled with was the ambiguity throughout the story, and ultimately at the end. Sometimes, this works for me, but in this instance I personally just wanted a bit more clarity on what was going on.

I recommend this one if you're a fan of horror or supernatural thrillers-- especially for those who enjoy a story that will leave you with a few questions and thoughts to ponder after the experience is over. I look forward to reading what's next from this author!

(Note: I received an Advance Reader's Copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. )
Profile Image for Cassie Daley.
Author 8 books207 followers
May 10, 2022
Special thanks to Flame Tree Press for providing an ARC of 'WILL HAUNT YOU' in exchange for an honest review.

Starting off, I'd seen a lot of hype surrounding this release on the blogs of some people whose reviews I typically follow. Oddly, when looking through the reviews for this, I'm not actually seeing many of those who promoted it reviewing it (at least, not yet - it is slated to come out next month officially, so maybe everyone's just waiting for closer to the release). I will admit I was a little disappointed by this, because I was really interested to hear what my friends thought of it. I'll keep an eye out for other reviews!

As a minor note, I've decided moving forward on GR at least (not counting blog reviews), I won't be typing up any sort of synopsis. Goodreads provides that for you, I'll provide my thoughts! So onto those...

After all the promotion, I was honestly a bit underwhelmed by the book itself. That's not to say I didn't like it, since I did rate it at 3.5 stars, but I was expecting this to be a lot more, well... haunting. I expected more ghostly otherworldliness, I suppose, although I haven't removed any stars for this itself, as I do like to go into books mostly blind and a majority of my assumption here was based on the title!

With horror, I always say that it doesn't have to actually make me terrified for me to love it. Some of my favorite horror comes from the stories of people, the things that happen to them; the horror of tragedy and pain can be extremely scary even without ghosts or bumps in the night, so when I say this 'didn't scare me', please know that I'm not detracting points (or stars, as it were) for that either.

However, not being scared coupled with being almost mildly annoyed every time I was warned away from the book while trying to be absorbed in what was happening, as well as just genuinely not liking the main character, just didn't make for an overwhelmingly positive reading experience.

(Minor character spoilers below possibly, warning!)

Our main man Jesse just isn't a likable guy - I get that the author tried to make him real and troubled, and I get that he's struggled with addiction and alcoholism. Even so, some people are just blatantly selfish and self-serving, and in my opinion, Jesse is one of those people (as are his bandmates, who I also really did not like). I honestly felt like every action he made was fueled either by his selfishness, his guilt, or a combination of both. I never felt any real urgency for his safety, because I honestly didn't care whether he was safe, lol.

I will say my favorite part of this was the uncertainty in the world around the main characters. I was completely drawn into the idea that the world built around someone could be manufactured - The Truman Show is one of my absolute fav movies -, so during parts of the story, I kept finding myself on the edge of my seat just trying to figure out if certain things were real or not. Every time Jesse was in a place of normalcy or familiarity, I had my guard up! I really liked this aspect of the book so much.

I read some other reviews saying they didn't understand what happened, but I didn't experience this at all. While there were some strange, almost dream-like scenes, I didn't find it difficult to follow, nor did I find the ending to be confusing. I was left with some questions - (PRISCILLA AND TARZAN, WHERE ARE YOU? ARE YOU SAFE? Also, I'd have loved more info on Malia!) - but they were just extras, not really anything pertinent to the way things play out for the main characters.

One other very minor criticism - and this is something that I've never noticed anyone else being bothered by, but has ALWAYS struck a chord with me - is the overusage of similes. Not every single thing, character, smell, etc has to be "like" something else, and the repetition of using this technique so heavily to describe so much of what was going on in the book did get to me a bit. Again, this is probably something that I have an issue with only, and nobody else minds, but I do like to mention everything that stuck out to me when reading, so there you have it!

Overall, despite having some of the issues I did, I gave this a solid 3.5 stars. I enjoyed a lot of the mentions of more out there science fiction-y stuff (homonculi, clones, mind control), liked the side characters (Malia , Al and - I'M NOT BIASED OK - Cassie), and felt the pacing of the book was pretty good once it gets going. The ride was a wild one, and if you're into more "out there" horror, this may be right up your alley!
Profile Image for Steve Stred.
Author 71 books519 followers
February 13, 2019
** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews! **

Over the course of 2018 and now into 2019 two things have become abundantly clear. Indie horror releases have upped the level of quality and Flame Tree Press releases are stellar. Now while the two statements at face value would appear to be completely unrelated, I can guarantee you, they are one and the same.

There is nothing wrong with commercial literature. Many of the best horror novels of all time are considered commercial literature. But sometimes, and lately that has been happening a lot, commercial literature has a ‘happy ending’ or a ‘neatly wrapped up finale.’ Meanwhile, indie authors and indie horror strive to tell the tale they want to tell. No commercial editing, the release is designed to engage and enrage, not move to the #1 spot on the Bestsellers list.

Enter Flame Tree Press. They are fast becoming one of the go-to publishing imprints for top-notch releases. Why? Well personally I think it’s because their authors are not commercial authors at heart. They write tales designed to engage and enrage.

Which brings us to Will Haunt You.

This is my first Brian Kirk read, but it sure won’t be my last.

I came across the release of this book through the unique promotion Kirk and Flame Tree Press had on Twitter, where the prologue Obsideo was told. While the prologue itself was well done, the various puzzle pieces where Kirk utilized different bloggers was fantastic and it was great to see such an ‘outside the box’ marketing piece pulled off so well. I found some of the posts a touch cheesy (specifically the ‘I came inside and my books moved’ posts) but it definitely built some great momentum and word of mouth for Will Haunt You.

As I stated on Twitter when I started reading this; Brian Kirk’s use of prose is phenomenal. It’s like your favourite band. All you need to hear is the rhythm, not even the actual song, and you know who it is. I was sucked in immediately and found the author’s voice to be one I enjoyed. This story can best be described as a mash up of three movies; The Game starring Michael Douglas, The Cell starring Jennifer Lopez and 31 from Rob Zombie.

We follow the main character, Jesse, a former rock star-now jingle writer. The story picks up on the night of his band playing a one-off reunion show. Jesse longs for the glory days – young women, lots of booze and big arenas. Now he’s a recovering alcoholic and married with a special needs child.

Then he read a book recommended to him by a bandmate. Now he’s in over his head and Kirk puts the pedal to the metal. Things quickly spiral out of control and nothing is what it seems. Surveillance, the young-old character Malia, and a deepening mystery.

Will Haunt You is the ideal indie horror novel. Kirk takes the road less travelled, and in fact while it is written in first person POV, he breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the reader a number of times. It works so satisfyingly well that it made me keep pushing deeper and deeper into the novel.

I don’t want to go too far into details, as I fear it will create spoilers. But here’s a Cole’s notes on what you can expect;

-Professor O.
-Hidden Labs
-Weird Beasts
-Abandoned cabins

If you read that list and still don’t find yourself interested, I’m so sorry. Because for me this book was the ultimate horror read. This will easily be on my best of 2019 list at the end of the year and look forward to checking out Brian’s other works!
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,257 reviews195 followers
March 4, 2019
I picked up a copy of this book because I was in the mood for a good horror novel. It has been a really long time since I have read a good horror novel. Sadly, this book did not end up being that "one. Yet, the concept was there and could have been.

It is funny as I was struggling with this book and kept putting it down after a few chapters not really able to put my finger on what the issue was. I knew that the one thing was that I could not connect or cared for the characters including the main lead Jesse. It was not until I read a few other readers thoughts that I realized what the problem was. Which, I don't typically read reviews until after I have read the book.

The problem is that the way the characters voiced their thoughts was not in full sentences. It was short and choppy. I might have been able to excuse this style of writing if I had been more into the overall book. As I stated this book did have elements of being a good horror book. It is dark and the transformation that Jesse experienced could give you nightmares. A good idea that was not executed as well in the end.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,206 reviews3,208 followers
April 16, 2023
4.0 Stars
This is a twisted psychological horror novel that had a purposefully messy, twisted narrative. I highly recommend the audio version because it matches the chaotic nature of the story. I understand why a novel like this could be polarizing but thankfully I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,723 reviews261 followers
March 14, 2019
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You don't read the book. It reads you. Rumors of a deadly book have been floating around the dark corners of the deep web. A disturbing tale about a mysterious figure who preys on those who read the book and subjects them to a world of personalized terror. Jesse Wheeler--former guitarist of the heavy metal group The Rising Dead--was quick to discount the ominous folklore associated with the book. It takes more than some urban legend to frighten him. Hell, reality is scary enough. Seven years ago his greatest responsibility was the nightly guitar solo. Then one night when Jesse was blackout drunk, he accidentally injured his son, leaving him permanently disabled. Dreams of being a rock star died when he destroyed his son's future. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to stay clean. But Jesse is wrong. The legend is real--and tonight he will become the protagonist in an elaborate scheme specifically tailored to prey on his fears and resurrect the ghosts from his past. Jesse is not the only one in danger, however. By reading the book, you have volunteered to participate in the author's deadly game, with every page drawing you closer to your own personalized nightmare. The real horror doesn't begin until you reach the end. That's when the evil comes for you.

Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk sounded like it had so much potential. The synopsis is really drew me in. I couldn't help but think of a combination of The Ring meets We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix which sounds like a winning combination to me. Unfortunately, the novel didn't quite win me over. At times it's just too outright weird (and that's coming from someone who generally appreciates that quality) and confusing. That said there were some elements I enjoyed, but I think a visual element would really help this story. Personally, I think seeing it adapted to the big screen could be what it needs to really come together. While this novel wasn't a favorite, I still want to try other things from Brian Kirk because of all of the potential here. Thanks again or the opportunity, NetGalley.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews864 followers
March 15, 2019
“The only question is how the story ends for you. Because it’s only just begun.”

The ride will begin and into forbidden frontiers, irreversible realms, lies, frighting abominations and tellings, trapped in a vicious cycle of torment and wrongs doings all played before you whilst in the mind of another, a maniac mind, replaying nostalgia painful and regretful, truth or falsehood. 

The main characters escape to safety, to normality, from all the craziness and outrage ensuing, keeps you tied in to this tale with keen interest.

Taking you viscerally to new levels of evocation and sensory overload, with some good choice of words with some bad things, the usual bad words too, and ugliness, through a bent mind ride, taken by the authors hand in first person narration in a nightmarish fever dream brain impregnation that may stir and haunt.

Review also @ More2Read
Profile Image for Mommacat.
539 reviews28 followers
January 17, 2019
Review Copy

An interesting book to start out with, but I quickly got bored. And then...AND THEN the author pulled what I felt was a fast one. He gathered up a bunch of his blogger friends and asked them to post a prequel to this book on their blogs (presumably to garner excitement) as well as explain wtf was going on in this silly story.

Now as I said, read on its own you could figure the story out without the prequel. But I don't like starting in the middle of a book or walking late into a movie so this whole stunt just pissed me off. I was not interested in going on a treasure hunt blog tour to read a book that I was thinking was a three star book at best.

The book wasn't chilling or creepy or even weird. It just fell flat. It felt as real as The Bell Witch Project, which I also thought sucked gutter water. But if you liked that, give this a try.
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,379 reviews139 followers
March 4, 2019
Meet Jesse, a former member of a heavy metal band who reads a book with a warning, the same warning that was in my copy, your warned to put the book down, to throw it away. Or it will haunt you. Like me, Jesse read the book.

If Alice was in a rock band I have a feeling she would have tumbled down the same hole as Jesse.

This book is weird, it's pretty upside down and sideways. I was really unsure throughout if I was engaged in this book, if I was enjoying it, having now finished the book I'm sure I did. It lost me on occasions but it tied up nicely at the end.

Overall I'm bang in the middle, a 3 star read.

I'm done, now haunt me book!
Profile Image for Peter.
373 reviews22 followers
March 24, 2019
Jesse Wheeler, was a former rock guitarist with the heavy mental band Dead Rising. Dead Rising was getting back together for one night only. They were playing at a seedy little bar, called The Full Moon Saloon. Jesse has been sober for seven years now. He has a wife and a little boy. One night Jesse came home wasted. He injured his son and left him permanently disabled. Jesse has not had a drink since that night. Now he cuts radio jingles and fights to keep his head above water. Tonight is going to be different for Jesse, it will change his life and his way of thinking forever. The story started off strong, but quickly derailed and never regained it's momentum.
Profile Image for Audra (ouija.reads).
741 reviews257 followers
March 3, 2019
I felt let down by the premise of this book. It seems like it is going to be a story about this strange haunted book that, Ringu-style, after you read it, you are sort of screwed and weird, horrifying stuff starts happening to you. But that really isn’t what this book is about at all. The haunted book part felt secondary to the rest of the plot, almost tacked on.

Reading this book is definitely a wacky mind trip—you won’t know what’s coming next and when it does come, you’ll only be able to think, wtf have I gotten myself into?

I felt that the narrative was a parable for alcoholism and drug addiction. Even though Jesse has a stable life now with his wife and child, that doesn’t mean that things are easy. He will always be an addict, and he has more than one demon on his back. Jesse winds up where he is because of his mistakes, especially the ones he isn’t able to own up to.

When he goes back with his pals for one night to relive the glory days of the past, everything crumbles. Putting himself in the path of temptation leads to making bad decisions left and right, and though in Will Haunt You the consequences are on a much larger and infinitely stranger scale than just falling off the wagon, the book captures the insanity and lack of control that an addict might feel, careening through life with little control. Even if they care about the outcome, they aren't able to control their actions in the moment.

I’m not sure how this interpretation ties together with every thread and character of the book, but it is just something I was kept coming back to as I tried to piece together exactly what was going on.

This isn’t a straightforward horror novel. It leaves empty spaces, room for uncertainty, scenes that are strange and unclear, sci-fi-ish tones of weirdness. These aren’t bad things. It just didn’t work for me in this narrative.

Perhaps there is a haunted book for all of us, one that captures all our worst fears and lets them loose. You just can’t let that book catch up with you—you have to be the one who makes the decisions about your life.

My thanks to Flame Tree Press for my copy of this one to read and review.
Profile Image for Laura Thomas.
1,354 reviews78 followers
January 22, 2019
I had high hopes going into this. The synopsis sounded creepy. And while I did get plenty of that, I also got some bizarre scenes. It was hard, at first, to see where the author was going with his story. Once I figured that out, kind of, I kept thinking this would work so much better as a movie. The plot was out there and hard to follow by reading. I enjoyed some parts, especially the twist at the end. Other parts, not so much. I was left wishing I’d gotten more of what I thought this was going to be about. If you like books that take you into the strange unknown and make you think, this might be a good one for you.

Thanks so much to Flame Tree Press and Netgalley for the complimentary copy. My review is voluntarily given.
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