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Rites of Extinction

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Rebecca Daniels is a down-and-out private investigator on the hunt for her daughter’s killer. The trail leads to Bright Fork, a sleepy New Hampshire town where Rebecca discovers this is no ordinary manhunt. Her investigation becomes a tangle of brutal killings, secret rituals, and terrifying visions that force Rebecca to question reality. This is more than an opportunity to take revenge on the one who tore her family to pieces. It’s a chance to confront the darkness growing inside of her, the madness that threatens to possess her entirely.

150 pages, Paperback

First published March 30, 2019

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Matt Serafini

19 books97 followers

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5 stars
47 (18%)
4 stars
78 (30%)
3 stars
75 (29%)
2 stars
36 (14%)
1 star
17 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews
Profile Image for Peter.
2,467 reviews440 followers
February 2, 2023
Rebecca is trying to find the murderer of her daughter. His name is Paul and he and his girlfriend Cassie killed a number of people. Will she find him? Why are those murders so gruesome and ritualistic? What started as a compelling story soon turned a bit confusing and hazy. Drug induced passages, a deranged main character, strange action... well this could have been a very good tale with a straighter story telling. So it was a bit overwritten and vague. Didn't leave much of an impression to me. The road movie touch was fine though. Maybe for fans of this author.
Profile Image for Janie.
1,024 reviews
April 12, 2019
This book began as story of crime and revenge, then threw in a chilling twist that took me completely by surprise. The psychological elements and the strong occult background combined to make this a tense and disturbing story of the ties between a mother and her child.
Profile Image for Mindi.
776 reviews264 followers
May 23, 2019
My friend Sadie turned me on to this novella, and we actually ended up reading it at the same time without discussing it. I'm so thankful to her and Matt Serafini for hooking me up with a copy of this. I absolutely loved it.

I'm really going to have to tread carefully here, because I don't want to give anything away or spoil a single thing for anyone. You need to go into this novella knowing as little as possible. Sincerely, the less you know, the more of a gut punch this story turns out to be. And now that I've finished it, I realize that there are little things that happen throughout the story that have so much meaning when you finally reach the end. They aren't exactly Easter eggs, but rather small details that make me want to go back and read the book again from the point of view of a reader who knows what ultimately happens. I think it would be a very different and interesting experience.

Rebecca Daniels is a Private Investigator searching for her daughter's killer. Daniels is good at what she does, and the trail leads her to a small town in New Hampshire. Her daughter isn't the only victim of this monster, and Daniels needs to find him. It's the only thing that matters in her life anymore, now that her child has been so brutally murdered. None of this is info that isn't on the back of the book, but it sets up a story that takes such an unexpected turn. I was genuinely surprised by where Serafini took this story, and it's brilliant. The end is so devastating and shocking. I love when writers do that. When you think you have a feeling for where a story is headed and then the author just pulls the rug out from under you. That surprise, the shock of a story that takes an unexpected turn is fantastic.

I cannot recommend this one enough. It's unflinching and and at times hard to read, but it's also brilliant horror that leaves you stunned and thinking about it for days after you finish it. Now I can't wait to explore Serafini's other works.
Profile Image for Emily.
1,264 reviews331 followers
May 21, 2019
"All of yesterday, a dream. All of today, a nightmare."

I'm not going to say very much about Rites of Extinction because you deserve to go into this one without knowing much. Just know that I loved this book, and I had such a blast reading it. This story grabbed my attention in the beginning, and then it ended up being wilder than I expected it to be. It was so much fun to see how everything unraveled. This was by far one of the most satisfying novellas I've read since I feel like everything was wrapped up so well. Horror fans, you definitely need this creepy little book!
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
1,960 reviews2,679 followers
August 29, 2020
4.0 Stars
Well that was unexpected!

This is one of those novellas where it is best to pick it up without knowing too much. Now that I have read it for myself, I understand why other reviewers have been so mysterious when they talk about the plot.

The characterization of our protagonist was excellent. Rebecca played the role of the alcoholic private detective and I absolutely loved it. She was not just a stereotype, but rather a complex, fully fleshed out woman.

It's honestly hard to discuss this one without giving away too much. Instead, I will simply say, if you enjoy horror stories that are smart, gruesome, and completely unexpected, then you must try Rite of Extinction for yourself.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author.
Profile Image for Stephanie (That's What She Read).
422 reviews1,080 followers
July 8, 2019
"Every day on the road is like this now. All of yesterday, a dream. All of today, a nightmare."

Absolutely loved this little folk horror novella, and it has less to do with the fact that I'm a sucker for an alcoholic PI main character and more with how wonderfully horrifying this book was. This follows Rebecca Daniels, a private investigator heading to a small town to hunt down the man that murdered her daughter and ruined her life. I went into this thinking it would be a generic revenge story and thoroughly enjoyed the direction the ending took instead. This little book packs a big punch!
Profile Image for Ashley (spookishmommy).
168 reviews284 followers
June 9, 2019
In the words of our lord and savior, Britney Spears, gimme gimme more. This was the first book I've read by Matt Serafini and I am looking forward to reading more. What a gory surprise! These characters were insane and I loved every second. Also I'm a sucker for a cult. So bonus points there. For such a small book, it ran my emotions through the ringer!
Profile Image for Keely.
95 reviews9 followers
September 3, 2019
4.5/5 rounded up for GR.
Full review coming soon.
Profile Image for Alex | | findingmontauk1.
1,061 reviews98 followers
September 23, 2021
RITES OF EXTINCTION by Matt Serafini is a sharp horror novella about a P.I. searching for her daughter's killer. While navigating other killings and secret rituals and trying to maintain her own sanity, our lead character is thrust into a world where safety is not guaranteed. Blending some elements of small town, culty folk horror, Serafini has put together a story that will knock you off your feet and devastate you in the end. We get revenge, grief, and betrayal in this novella and I, for one, was on the edge of my seat reading as it all unfolded. It is disturbing, tense, and shocking. A must-read!
Profile Image for Laura.
111 reviews1 follower
October 25, 2021
Well that was weird.
I’m afraid that even though the main character was female, this was so painfully obviously written from the male gaze (describing breasts? Perving at a ‘jailbait’ teenager? Describing how you would ‘hitch up’ shorts to get attention from men?) it really spoiled it for me.
Seriously - who even uses the term ‘jailbait’ any more except middle aged men?
Profile Image for Tracy Robinson.
465 reviews140 followers
June 11, 2019
“But memories have a way of crystalizing the happiness the further you get away from them” (2).

Matt Serafini, Rites of Extinction
This novella is a unique take on revenge, psychosis, and more that I won’t divulge here. So much of the success of this story depends on coming to it fresh, with little idea of what to expect. Hell, even if you do have some expectations, they are probably incorrect. So unique is the best way I can think of to describe this right now. No fear, I am not giving anything away during the rest of the review, the synopsis from the book (listed above) is enough.

Serafini’s writing is spare, but disturbingly delicious when the story needs it. I read so many different types of horror and writing styles. Combine that with my day job as an English teacher/adjunct professor, and it takes something special to hit that sweet spot for me – Rites of Extinction does it. No gimmicks. No tricks. Just the story how it begs to be told. I appreciate that.

Beyond the writing, I love that Serafini was able to subvert my expectations without the plot feeling contrived. The build up is organic, the characters are believable and act accordingly for the insane situations they find themselves in. The dialogue (external and internal) plays a major part in making sure this moves smoothly. The ending is fast-paced, multi-layered, and there are a million ways it could’ve been a hot mess; however, the skill with which Serafini crafts his dialogue and pacing makes this part sing.

I haven’t read anything else from Serafini prior to this, multiple bookish friends mentioned that I needed to. After this? Definitely. Thanks to the author for sending this my way!

Update: I've already purchased his novel FERAL!
Profile Image for Valerie.
638 reviews15 followers
May 19, 2019
This is my first time reading a Matt Serafini story and I won’t let it be my last! This one made me sit back and take notice! He is a force to be reckoned with.

It shocks me that there are authors out there, such as Matt, that can still shock and horrify me. Well, this one did it! The first part of the book had me wondering what was really going on, by the end I realized, not only what was going on but was left stunned. This is a deeply disturbing, psychological story with ancient ritualistic undertones filled with sacrifice.

One thing this story did was made me realize what trips my creep-O-meter! Main character comes upon 14 scarecrows in a field. She approaches them noticing what the scarecrows really are. Don’t want to spoil anything here but boy did it get to me. Setafini has a way of describing instances and physical things that make you smell the smell, visualize the gory details! In my opinion, this is a must read for horror lovers. Bravo Mr. Serafini!
Profile Image for ginathebibliohoe.
60 reviews8 followers
April 26, 2020
I had no idea starting this book what it was about. All I knew was I was OBSESSED with the cover. And I’m a sucker for grindhouse press.

I haven’t finished a whole book this month and so I picked this up hoping it would break this awful slump.

SPOILER: IT DID!

This was grief horror. Occult stuff. Everything I never knew I was missing. The author did a fantastic job taking you through all the emotions as you watch this mom deal with the loss of her daughter. She sets out to find her killer and there are so many surprises. I DID NOT EXPECT THAT ENDING. Loved this book so much. I mean, did it make me want to vomit? Yes. Did I cringe at times? Yes. Did I cry? Yes. But I loved every second of it.
Profile Image for Ben Long.
228 reviews55 followers
February 13, 2022
My jaw is on the floor, dragged there by equal parts disgust and awe. Disgusted by what I just read, in awe of its dark, twisting brilliance. I went into this story completely unprepared and was taken on a shocking, thrilling ride, spit out the other side transmuted, never to be the same again. And that's exactly how I recommend you approach this novella as well.

How to review RITES OF EXTINCTION without revealing too much of its multilayered magnificence?

It's a tale of loss, obsession, possession, revenge, and madness. It's grief horror, folk horror, cult horror, and psychological horror. It's brutal, disturbing, mind-bending, hilarious, full of turns I didn't expect, and extremely well written - I couldn't put it down and eagerly ate up every word. It's all of these things and still something I can't quite put my finger on. It has a loose, dream-like quality to many of its scenes, where the characters and the reader both become unmoored from time and space. So. Good.

This was my first book by Matt Serafini, and I can't wait to read more of his work!
Profile Image for Escapereality4now.
418 reviews33 followers
February 15, 2022
“Rites of Extinction,” by Matt Serafini

“Rites of Extinction”, by Matt Serafini is my kind of horror. The novella blends small town and cult horror into a satisfying story about revenge.

I want to avoid giving away too many details about this novella. It starts out as a police procedural and takes a sharp, unexpected turn. Whoa. I got whiplash listening to this one. The story has all these small details that build up to a satisfying end. It will have the reader sitting and thinking for days. I love books that linger.

Fans of cult horror should check out this quick read.
Profile Image for Kelsi - Slime and Slashers.
229 reviews112 followers
January 28, 2022
3.5 stars rounded up. Matt Serafini's novel Under The Blade was one of my favorite reads of 2021. So I went into Rites of Extinction with very high expectations, to say the least.

The story follows a female detective as she's on the hunt for a man. She isn't officially on the job; it's a matter of personal revenge. The reader is able to piece together why she's after him as the story progresses, but there are also moments of surrealism where one questions if what the main character is experiencing is real or not. At first, I didn't feel connected to the main character and didn't enjoy her perspective. Detective-type books aren't my favorite. But what really bothered me were the surreal parts which I found confusing at times.

During this first half, I was not enjoying the read at all. I was sorely disappointed in the story compared to how much I thoroughly loved Under The Blade. I almost wanted to stop reading.

However, as the story goes on, more of what is happening is revealed. And those revelations are masterfully done. In the end, the plot is overall incredibly creative, and I am glad I stuck it out.

Reading this was two very different experiences for me: I was feeling very let down by the first half, but I ended up loving the second half and the direction it went in.

I always recommend that others give things a try and find out how they feel for themselves! So, of course, I'd recommend reading it and seeing what you think of it! To me, the ending was well worth the journey.
Profile Image for Elle.
228 reviews8 followers
December 16, 2021
Rebecca Daniels is a woman obsessed with finding her daughter's killer, and has taken it upon herself to hunt the man down when the police show signs of giving up after coming up empty handed. Her search takes her to a small town called Bright Fork, and upon her arrival she begins to realise that this is only the beginning of her true suffering.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did, and I loved the beginning and the ending, but the middle lost me for a while. I think tighter editing would have served it well despite the small page count because the transition from crime thriller to outright psychological horror felt disjointed, almost like there were chunks of action missing - I had to re-read several sections to be sure I was understanding exactly what had happened to move us to those points.

I think the premise was excellent and I agree that the twist ending was something of a gut punch, not expected at all, there is some excellent writing in here and very solid characters that I connected with easily. Unfortunately I just think that for me this would have worked better if it continued as a thriller instead of shifting into horror, it became a little bit too convoluted with unreliable dream/hallucination sequences. I might try a re-read now I understand what is going on and see if that helps at all. Not bad by any means!
Profile Image for Cat Voleur.
138 reviews4 followers
April 11, 2019
"This is desperation. And desperation breeds sacrifice."

I am so glad that I stuck this book out to the end, because I'm not sure that the early chapters do the story justice. Getting into it I had a lot of questions (outside just the general mystery of the plot) that at first I found were distracting, but all the pieces really fell into place by the end.

Darker sexual themes that were running throughout the book bore a surprisingly satisfying significance to the plot later on and characters that I didn't understand much became much clearer.

It was a good read, unlike a majority of the occult mysteries I've read.
Profile Image for Amy Vaughn.
Author 8 books26 followers
April 13, 2019
In the beginning, I was interested in this book because it gives a hard boiled detective voice to a middle aged mom. (Full disclosure, I am a middle aged mom.) But at the halfway point the simmer turns to boil and things get out and out weird, in a way I can get behind, and the second half of the book barrels toward a satisfying end.
Profile Image for Isaac Thorne.
Author 13 books208 followers
December 21, 2019
Creepy and engaging, Matt Serafini's RITES OF EXTINCTION reminded me a great deal of Stephen King back when Stephen King was trying to be H.P. Lovecraft. The ending of this short novel, in particular, is reminiscent of those earlier King days. Serafini is a crafty storyteller, able to guide what begins as a crime novel to a brutally satisfying supernatural conclusion.
Profile Image for Ashley.
526 reviews64 followers
October 14, 2019
There were aspects of this I loved but overall did not enjoy the reading experience. It felt very disjointed to me and would have dnf'd if it were a longer book. Many scenes were like a fever dream and I wasn't a fan. I kinda how it ended but at that point I had just wanted it to be over.
Profile Image for Sarah.
565 reviews23 followers
September 24, 2022
Totally good……reminded me of the film In the Mouth of Madness in a great way. Pretty slow build for a novella but it gets really intense and actually scary.
Profile Image for DJ.
10 reviews1 follower
July 21, 2019
so I DNF.

i really wanted to like this book. it's short, it's about something i am interested in (i didn't even get to the cult stuff, lmfao), and i have been looking for a horror like this to sink my teeth into. but after reading about 20% i feel like i need to take a shower to get this out of my head, and not in a good, scary way. the writing style was the first, immediate issue for me. it's not that i minded it exactly...it was simple and straight forward and i really like that in a lot of novels, esp ones like this. but as the book went on the way it was written was completely grating on my sense. what was worse is there were times where i felt like the author couldn't keep his own voice and the voice of the character straight. it felt like an author writing about a character, not a character expressing themselves. "she did this. she went here. she thought this." blah blah blah. it wasn't good.

the plot made no sense. i won't spoil anything that isn't given away in the description but man. i can suspend my belief a little, and i can understand weird actions taken by a grieving parent, but give me a break. where are the cops? (i lied about spoilers, actually) the house arrest thing for cassie doesn't make sense either. i was hoping to get further into it to explain why she hasn't gone to juvy or even been put on trial in family court since she's a minor but i couldn't be bothered. also, if the cops came by to that house she and her mother were living in she absolutely would have been taken away.

speaking of cassie, that whole scene in her house was outrageous, particularly because the author describes her as "jailbait" you'd have to register as a sex offender for even glancing at, and then goes on for paragraphs to talk about how large her chest is and have the female, i'm assuming straight, main character stare at her chest their whole conversation, so much so that cassie even acknowledges it. what the fuck? she's a kid. why is this even happening? you can't write about how disgusting paul is for sleeping with this minor while meanwhile lusting after her yourself.

anyway i wanted to finish this but it was painful to read, made no sense, and the author really needs to check himself next time he finds himself writing about teenage girls. or, you know, around a teenage girl, weirdo.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for John Lynch.
Author 8 books48 followers
January 20, 2020
Rites of extinction, this is truly a mind bender.

This is my second Matt Serafini book, the first being ocean grave. I’ll be reading more soon. The story follows Rebecca on a quest for revenge. To say more truly is to give the book away. I enjoyed this a lot, although for much of it, I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on, although I believe that to be by design. The story is interesting and the end was great. I’d recommend this to horror fans for sure
August 17, 2021
Short novel. The psychological and cult elements were interesting but over all it just left me kind of grossed out, and not in a good way.
Profile Image for Tisha.
124 reviews1 follower
June 5, 2022
4.5 stars. I literally had no idea what I was going into, but the writing captivated me from the beginning, I absolutely loved it, I highlighted so many lines for the sole reason that they were just good ones.

I really thought I got a grasp on what was going on, but I was thrown for a loop so many times that, similar to Rebecca, I eventually just let it play out to see what would happen.

I was honestly surprised that it was written in 2019 because it has the same vibe as what I imagine horror books from the 80s-90s have (I haven't read many, but the few I have had something similar to this, but I'm not sure what.) It may have been because the fact it takes place in the middle of nowhere so the way they talk/describe things is similar in the sense that it's like "hey, can we stop talking about an underage girl's breasts?" But the thing is that it actually made sense for the story, but still.

I'm also surprised this was written by a man, just because there's such a heavy theme about motherhood (though it's really parenting in general, but we do follow a mother) and while I cannot speak from experience or understanding about motherhood, this felt very well represented and I'm just surprised, but in a positive way!

Honestly, the ending of the book was a bit disappointing for me, which I think is why it didn't get 5 stars (because it really leaned into an aspect that I just personally wasn't interested into pursuing more) but that's just personal preference, the writing honestly stayed amazing the entire way, so overall I enjoyed!
Profile Image for Brennan LaFaro.
Author 11 books73 followers
November 22, 2019
I just closed this late last night and let it settle, or maybe unsettle? I'm not sure this was the best intro to Matt Serafini's work for me. Don't get me wrong, this book is phenomenal, but having never read Serafini before I was ill-prepared for the things this story did to my mind, without even having bought dinner first.

Rebecca Daniels takes unreliable narrator to a new level, and as such the timeline and narrative can be a bit hard to follow. I'm more than willing to chalk that part of the experience up to me not being quite as smart as the story. I found myself doing a but of rereading, and taking time to process. In other words, I didn't fly through this story in the same manner as some other novellas I've thrown myself into in the past few weeks.

Once I got my bearings and figured out just what this guy was doing to me, so like 3 minutes ago, I fell in love with the ending. I don't mean to sound holier-than-thou, but there's something to the way it all wraps up that only a parent could have wrote, and parents will appreciate in a different manner. Tragic, yet peaceful. Despite the confetti-like state my gray matter is currently in, I'm already on the look-out for my next Serafini book.
Profile Image for Fabio.
25 reviews
September 6, 2020
I loved “Rites Of Extinction”! This novella is a blood-soaked, mind-bending, sex-driven, shit-spattered trip in the sick mind of Rebecca, a former police officer, now private investigator, on the hunt for her daughter’s murderer. The erudite narrative, by using the present tense, engages the readers to the point that this book is pretty hard to put down. Matt Serafini creates his own small theogony of “Great Old Ones”, including an XXX-rated version of the “Necronomicon”. The huge difference with H. P. Lovecraft is the fact that every detail here is described in a way that does not leave anything to the readers’ imagination: the author is impressively powerful when it comes to rendering blood, fear, flesh, pain and the like. From another perspective, though, he extraordinarily succeeds in keeping the readers on their toes, and allows them to “believe it or not”: is this really happening or is this just the product of the disturbed mind of a grieving mother, suffering from migraine with aura, losing it day after day? If you love books filled with blood, mystery, perversion (in a never exceeding amount), sickness, violence, and weirdness, you will be definitely fulfilled by this novella!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews

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