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Face the Night

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Rookie sketch artist Adriana just drew the wrong face. A face with no name. With no voice. But with one hell of a secret...

Adriana Krause has a talent for bringing subjects to life. Until she draws a rotting, mangled face instead of the described suspect. Shocked, she realizes she’s drawn the man who haunts her nightmares. No one has seen this face before—except Adriana.

With few allies on the force, Adriana is alone in her pursuit of the hellish figure from her dreams, while battling her father—the mayor—as he tries to take custody of her young son. She needs this job to save her family, but now the unknown man is all she can draw.

When her nightmares become waking dreams that lead to a series of violent outbursts, Adriana turns to near strangers for help. She must keep her son, unlock the mysteries of this strange face, and uncover one of the darkest secrets ever buried in her small town.

For fans of supernatural horror, this gripping thriller will lure readers into the false comfort of small-town life, before dropping the kind of scares that'll make your nightmares rival Adriana's.

371 pages, ebook

First published March 8, 2022

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About the author

Alan Lastufka

6 books106 followers
ALAN LASTUFKA writes horror, supernatural, and magical realism stories. His short fiction has been praised by Writer’s Digest. The screenplay adaptation of his story, “The Fort,” was an Official Selection at numerous film festivals.

Alan is the co-founder of DFTBA Records with Hank and John Green.

When he's not writing, Alan is one-half of the rock band The Caulden Road with bandmate Christian Caldeira, and enjoys walking through Oregon's beautiful woods with his partner, Kristen.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 61 reviews
March 12, 2022
Face The Night by Alan Lastufka attracted me simply by its cover image. There was something eerie about an open hand waiting inside a body of water that lured me in and the blurb did sound exciting. But after reading the book, I’m in a kind of dilemma about the review of the story.

Ask me, if I liked it, my answer would be YES, and then ask me, if I enjoyed it, my answer would be NO. So that is me completely bewildered at a fence with this book that had all the elements which I devour in a horror novel but failed to grip me in any way.

The small town ghostly mystery with a psychic heroine and a romantic element should have been a heavenly read, I am honestly a sucker for this trope but somehow or the other Face The Night didn’t live up to my expectation. Adriana has been suffering from the same nightmare for many years, she has never understood her ability of premonitions or ghostly visits which has made her life difficult. The cauldron however boils over having to fight a custody battle for her 3-year-old son against her own father and the desperate situation of having to gain a job to secure their future. The small-town politics and a father who is a mayor having the major players in his pocket have not benefitted Addie in any way so it was an uphill battle even before the fight begins. I loved Matt as the rookie cop aiming to be a detective who falls for the quirky artist and the secondary characters of Lisa and Jennifer who help Addie at times of crisis.

It would have been interesting if at all the twisty reveals packed a punch. The twists and turns in the story should have been thrilling with the apparition intruding into Addie’s life at every given opportunity but the adrenaline rush never materializes. For first-time readers of this genre, this is a book that has everything and more going for it but for someone like me who has read many a book in this category, this is a 3.5 star read.

This is a debut work by the author and I would be happy to read more works by Alan Lastufka.

Many thanks to Net Galley, Short Wave Media, IBPA, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.

This review is published in my blog Rain'n'Books, ##Goodreads, ##Amazon India, ##Book Bub, ##Medium.com, ##Facebook, ##Twitter.
Profile Image for  Bon.
1,198 reviews114 followers
January 25, 2022
Forget the supernatural occurrences, the true horror here is the domestic situation of the protagonist - heavily triggering for me so if alcoholism and general deadbeat behavior is upsetting to you, I recommend passing. I'm not sure if there are worse triggers because I stopped near the quarter mark.

DNF. I'll admit, I picked this up on a Read Now option on Netgalley because of the cool cover, and it's my mistake. Hopefully some other readers are blind to the faults I found in this early on.

This book opens on a probably-unsanitary kitchen tattooing session, our protagonist working on her heavy-drinking, waste of space ex, and doesn't get better from there.

I found myself screaming at the main character early on, and not stopping. Dubious childcare choices, hauling the alcoholic loser father of the child back to the town for a sham of a custody hearing - none of this was what I gathered from the summary. It didn't make sense and I can't stand a foolish and weak protagonist.

This might be for some other readers, but I pass.
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,607 reviews465 followers
December 19, 2021
Looks like I’m the first to review this book on GR. Well, let’s see…perfectly serviceable doesn’t get the best rap and yet, it would be so apt here. There’s nothing really wrong with perfectly serviceable, it’s essentially the equivalent of conversational fine, as in “so, how’s that book?” “oh, it’s fine.”
I mean, it is fine, technically. It covers all the basis, the writing’s decent, the characters are decent…it’s just that nothing in this book ever gets above that level.
The plot of this supernaturally-themed thriller is a conglomeration of a number of genre themes – not a single original thing to be found here plot-wise. It’s one of those small town ghostly mysteries with the protagonist who sees dead people/premonitions/lake monsters. Does Adriana (Addie) make a compelling protagonist? Well, once again, she’s fine. Nothing special about her, got pregnant too young out of some teenage rebellion/stupidity, had a kid too young, now she’s living off her estranged father’s conditional largesse. The father, Bradley, is also the town’s longtime mayor and an all-around scumbag, who manipulates Addie and a bunch of other people for fun and gains.
Addie’s something of an artist, she draws, she does tattoos. Now, in order to maintain the custody of her kid, she has to get a proper job. And she does, but her dreams continue to be haunted by some terror rising out of a lake, so she begins to snoop around and finds out all sorts of disturbing but not-all-all-surprising truths about her father and other local potentates.
She scores some allies along the way, and, to his credit, the author does a good job with side characters. And then the story rolls down to its inevitable conclusion of justice and fairness for all, pretty much a happy ending.
Is it worth the almost 400 pages of getting there? Well, that’s a matter of personal preference. I’d say for an unoriginal story with nothing new to offer, featuring just average writing and just average characters, 371 pages might be a stretch. But then again, there’s nothing really objectionable about this book either. It’s that solidly committedly fine of a production. The realism of the narrative does its best to offset the tiresome convolutions of small-town politics and attitudes. Also stands to mention, this is a debut, so for a debut it’s decent, decently edited too. The author might get some original ideas down the road and step up his game. I mean, if the most negative thing one can say about the book is how meh, how bland, how plain it is…well, that’s actually ok, objectively. Especially, for a random debut. So, I'm going to round up my rating in a random display of uncharacteristic generosity. Reader mileage may vary. Thanks Netgalley.

This and more at https://advancetheplot.weebly.com/
Profile Image for Yunjue Casilda.
118 reviews1 follower
January 16, 2022
I’m not ashamed that I picked out this book solely for it’s cover (Psst! This is how I operate!). Don’t let that description fool you. I must stress that it doesn’t do this book any justice because you know what, it was a lot more than that! This book had all the elements that would make you deeply invested in it. That goes without saying that this book certainly lived up to its tittle and the cover.

The story follows Adriana Krause, a single mother in her custody battle with her estranged father, the longest running mayor to serve Cellar Township, Bradley R. Krause over her young son, Dylan. Drawing has always come easy to Adriana. Moreover, she got a talent for bringing subjects to life. Since childhood, Adriana has been losing sleep over the same haunting nightmare; a rotting arm at the bottom of a lake, or just Lake Nightmare as she called it.

Following one fateful night at the police station, Adriana landed herself a much needed job as a sketch artist at a local police force when she sketched a real-life face of a mugger.

Officer Matthew Hinkley, Matt the Rookie dreams of being a detective but six months of service at the Cellar Police Department resembled an office job more than anything else. That is until Adriana comes along. The two quickly hit it off over mutual trust and shared secrets. When Matt stumbled upon an old case file, with a name similar to that of the nightmarish man from Adriana’s Lake Nightmare, things escalated out of control as they took matter into their own hands in which resulting in shocking discovery. The biggest danger is that further investigation may leave their lives or jobs at stake.

Face the Night, a supernatural horror is Alan Lastufka’s first novel. This gripping thriller will be available for sale on 08 March 2022.

This has been an honest review in exchange for the free advance readers copy I received. A special thanks to NetGalley, Shortwave Media, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the author for the chance.
#FacetheNight #NetGalley
Profile Image for Heather Miller.
Author 2 books74 followers
March 8, 2022
Small town secrets. A decades-old cold case. Murder and mystery.

A young woman fighting for her life, her family, and her sanity, with a link to the supernatural world that puts all those things in jeopardy.

This book is more mystery than horror, a story where the ghost is seeking justice but the people are the true monsters. Addie is a young single mother, daughter of the town mayor. But the mayor has a lifetime full of dark secrets, and his daughter has a lifetime of nightmares and suppressed memories. Who is the gruesome specter that haunts her dreams and shows up in her art? And why is he in her head?

With the help of a rookie cop, Addie faces down all kinds of dangers, both supernatural and human, in her quest to reclaim her memories, face her demons, and prove to the world just how big a monster her father really is.

I liked this story, I liked Addie, though sometimes I had to shake my head at some of her decisions, but she's young and naive so I guess we can excuse her. The supernatural aspects, though really a small part of the story, were creepy and the scenes well-written. The small-town politicking is the most disturbing part of the whole story, and the lengths people will go to in order to climb the ladder of success are truly frightening.

I'd recommend this for readers who want a bit of lighter horror and who enjoy a good mystery and vengeance story.
Profile Image for Purple Bookish Frog (Bonnie).
80 reviews7 followers
February 9, 2022
This book did not go the way I thought it would after reading the premise of the book in Netgalley and let me tell you that it was way better that my plot prediction. I loved everything about this story, the characters, the twists and the themes that was woven I to the storyline. I think Alan Lastufka did a brilliant job with his first novel and I’m definitely going to be reading his next one!
Profile Image for Bookish Burnished Bee.
51 reviews5 followers
February 2, 2022
I went to bed last night excited to wake up this morning, knowing I’d be finishing this book today. It had mystery, drama, suspense, betrayal, the paranormal, and a hit of romance. My only disappointment is that this was Lastufka’s first novel – which means I can’t binge read more of his work.

Adriana is a young, single mom with a unique artistic ability and a determination to do anything she has to for the sake of her kid. While she’s been struggling on her own for years, she’s had to make a few changes in order to keep custody of her child from her manipulative Mayor father – which starts a chain of events that brings new friends and allies to her side, and forces her to confront her nightmares, her past, and her special gift.

As Adriana slowly descends into the grips of the nightmare that has haunted her all her life, you can see and feel the cracks forming in her psyche. Her independent nature wars with the notion that she now, after such a long time, has people she can turn to for help. Her psychological conflicts are so relatable -- it makes her easy to connect with. Adriana wears both her strengths and weaknesses with her head up, eyes on the prize.

I would rec this book for lovers of suspense, mystery, the paranormal, and female characters with iron cores.

(I received a free copy of this through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Profile Image for Kirsty Carson.
254 reviews40 followers
April 15, 2022
Adriana Krause has a talent for bringing subjects to life. Until she draws a rotting, mangled face instead of the described suspect. Shocked, she realizes she’s drawn the man who haunts her nightmares. No one has seen this face before—except Adriana.

With few allies on the force, Adriana is alone in her pursuit of the hellish figure from her dreams, while battling her father—the mayor—as he tries to take custody of her young son. She needs this job to save her family, but now the unknown man is all she can draw.

When her nightmares become waking dreams that lead to a series of violent outbursts, Adriana turns to near strangers for help. She must keep her son, unlock the mysteries of this strange face, and uncover one of the darkest secrets ever buried in her small town.

This one was a slow burner but it built up the suspense well and partnered the supernatural genre with the crime/thriller genre in an exciting and intriguing way.

Lastufka’s female protagonist Adrianna is gutsy and likeable and right from the get go I was rooting for her to succeed, what can I say, who doesn’t love an underdog! Also her dad… what an ass!!!

Lastufka’s writing is eerie and atmospheric but just on the right side of believable to make this story terrifying in its realism and horrific in its revelations.
Profile Image for Steve Rufle.
108 reviews2 followers
February 23, 2022
An amazing first novel. I wasn't sure where the story was going at first, but once we got there, I couldn't stop. The combination of horror and suspense was ongoing to the final pages. I look forward to my next visit to Cellar.

I will state that I received it as an ARC, with no expectations of a review from the author.
Profile Image for Kat (Katlovesbooks) Dietrich.
1,205 reviews147 followers
May 2, 2022

Face the Night by Alan Lastufka
is a supernatural mystery novel.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Shortwave Media and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)
Addie has been raising her son Dylan on her own, but her father, the Mayor of Cellar Ohio is trying to taken him from her.  Even when Dylan's biological father tries to step up, the judge disregards him.  Addie is given 30 days to get a full-time job.

She is somewhat successful in attaining a job with the police department as a sketch artist, using her skills as a tattoo artist as background. 

Unfortunately, Addie has been having nightmares for years, and suddenly, the only face she can draw, is the one from her nightmares.   He even seems to be attacking her during the day.  If she can't solve this problem, she will lose her job, and thereby lose custody of her son.

My Opinions:   
This was good, just not great.  I may be in the minority here.  I enjoyed it, but it also annoyed me.  The writing was okay, and the plot interesting, but it was missing something.

Some of the elements were a little much.  Addie's behaviour toward child rearing and job-finding left a lot to be desired, as did her decision to bring her child's deadbeat drug and alcohol addicted father into the picture to try to win custody of her child.  So it was difficult to truly like her.  Her father was over-the-top.  I really liked Hinkley.  I think an explanation as to why Addie could see ghosts would have been nice....yet others could see and feel him too, so, maybe not.

Anyway, I will be watching for this author's next novel.

For a more complete review of this book and others (including the reason I chose to read/review this book, as well as author information and contact details), please visit my blog: http://katlovesbooksblog.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for Ash.
9 reviews
March 8, 2022
The summary of this book does not do it justice - Face the Night a thrilling debut novel that exists at the intersection of horror, family drama, and magical realism. It also has a very cool cover, which is apt because the story follows the small-town life of artist Adriana, who is struggling to get by and keep custody of her son. The shadow of her father, the mayor of Cellar Ohio, looms large over Addie as she gets a job at the local police department but is woefully inadequate. Cellar feels like a real small town - very lived in, with its own history and lore, not just a place on a map for a story to take place. Addie is a protagonist who makes bad choices over and over again, which is both endlessly frustrating and infinitely interesting as a reader. Secondary characters are well fleshed out and just as interesting as the main characters. The perspective shifts can be a bit jarring at first, but the characterizations are strong enough that I’d becomes less of an issue as the story goes on. In my opinion, the plot has a bit of a slow start/over expositionizing, but as soon as it picked up I could not put the book down and finished it in one more sitting. Face the Night captures a Stephen King-esque small town horror vibe that I really enjoy and I hope there will be more stories that exist in this world. In a novel with actual supernatural horrors, the monsters are the human beings just being human beings, and that manages to keep the story grounded.

Some trigger warnings, just for the record: drug use, alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, racism, some domestic things (dead beat ex, CPS gets involved.) I know in a genre like this triggers are to be expected, but I always appreciate when someone has left a review laying them out for me, and if you’re not in the headspace for those things right now I’d say you should pick this up at a later time.

I’d say 4.5 stars, rounding it up to 5! Overall, a great debut novel, and I can’t wait to see what Lastufka does next.
Profile Image for Daniel Beer.
15 reviews4 followers
January 1, 2022
I want to start this review by providing full disclosure that this book falls outside of my normal genre preferences, as I spend most of my time reading science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction. That being send, Face the Night succeeded in introducing me to the world of supernatural thrillers and tickling my curiosity enough to explore this area some more.

I wish to avoid spoilers of the novel for anyone else who wishes to read Mr. Lastufka's debut novel, so rest assured there will be none here. The novel itself tells a compelling story of characters in Cellar, a small town in the 80s where nothing much happens, but a darkness lurks beneath the surface. While the main character, Addie, left a bit to be desired in terms of being an interesting character, many well-developed side characters help pick up her slack. A few of them are fully formed and presented well enough that I could see them featured in their own stories down the road and would gladly read them.

The book isn't without its moments that shine a light on this being a debut novel, such as the occasional bits of over-exposition from characters or head-hopping in the narrative, but it was never enough to pull me out of the story completely.

t is clear the author poured himself heavily into this self-published book, from designing the cover art to handling all of the promotion, and I respect that a great deal. At the end of the day, I enjoyed this novel a good amount and it left me excited to see what Mr. Lastufka will write next.
Profile Image for Amy Shook.
23 reviews3 followers
March 12, 2022
While this is not my typical go-to genre, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I agree with previous reviewers that the set-up on the inside jacket cover really does not do justice for the depth of the book itself.

This definitely is supernatural suspense, but there is an underlying current of realism that made me care deeply about these characters. The protagonist, Adriana Krause, is tragically flawed due to recurring haunting nightmares; yet, she has the unyielding strength of a young, single mother struggling to do the best for her child. The characters are so well-defined, from the compassionate side characters offering hope and guidance to the villains who just keep getting worse and worse.

I am hopeful this debut novel is the start of a brilliant writing career from Alan Lastufka. I look forward to reading much more from him in the future!
Profile Image for Sophia Dinsley.
46 reviews
January 3, 2022
Thank you to NetGalley for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A solid 4 star read. I read this in a few hours, and it’s great for mystery fanatics that need their fix! One thing I didn’t expect this horror/mystery to do, was break my heart with the stories of real people struggling. We get guided through money problems, familial struggles, corruption, seamlessly through this short novel - and I loved it! This very personal take also really helped sprinkle through clues about the end result, and other secrets hidden throughout. The child felt like a real person and not just an object, the romance and friendships were beautifully written. I even loved the side characters like Jennifer, who has a special place in my heart. I liked how this story went from normalcy for a single mother, to a fast placed thriller nearing the end of the book.

However, because of how raw and real the stories of these people felt, the supernatural element fell flat. Weirdly enough, I would have preferred it to be taken out completely. Rather than Adrianna’s visions being real, I would’ve preferred a descent into madness, watching Adriana struggle and take it out on people who care about her. Framing at as a supernatural event, as we see it all through her eyes, but at the end revealing that they were all delusions and hallucinations from trauma. Albeit, still being correct. The other characters in the book were also far too accepting of the supernatural being real, despite not experiencing it themselves. In a fantasy book where it is already established, this is fine, but because this is meant to be normal life it felt weird. It felt like it went from gritty and real to a little goofy in a few seconds near the end of the book.
Profile Image for Sarena Straus.
Author 3 books72 followers
March 2, 2022
I'm not a horror fan except with a few exceptions. This book hit the right notes for me, with its combination of a real world story with supernatural elements ala Stephen King. For a while, you don't know where the story is going or why it's horror-- it seems like the story of a flawed but relatable single mom struggling to survive and retain custody of her child. But there is a slow build to an underlying mystery that the MC has to solve in order to save her family. Lastufka also does a great job of portraying the exhausted, overwhelmed, down and out mom, except this one not only has the usual struggles, but it's compounded by the horrible visions that have her waking, screaming in terror or smashing up cars while sleep walking.

Although this book is self-published, it's very professional. Lastufka's writing is excellent and the novel is well edited. The art is professional. Overall, this is a really excellent first novel and I look forward to reading more from this author!
Profile Image for Nicole Harris.
231 reviews37 followers
March 8, 2022
Love a good thrilling genre-meld. If you don't know whether you want supernatural, crime, political, or family thriller... it's all in Face the Night. Don't sleep on this!
Profile Image for Catriona Lovett.
519 reviews10 followers
January 9, 2022
A Bad Dad and a Daughter Just Trying Her Best

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Face the Night, though it contains triggers that I'm sensitive to. Author Alan LaStufka used a tried and true, small town/villainous dad/struggling daughter dynamic effectively. His talented presentation had me invested in Adriana's success and her father's downfall in only half a paragraph.

Mayor Bradley Krause's cruel and unnatural undermining of everything Adriana tried to do made me hate him. In his sociopathic narcissism, he would cross any boundary to maintain his power over his two fixations: his daughter and ultimate power in the town of Cellar. I felt fully invested in the outcome as the action forged ahead at a rapid pace.

Likewise, I rooted for Cellar's new deputy, Officer Matthew Hinkley, to be her knight in shining armor. The author used a light touch to guide the two leads into a budding romance; but he was merciless as he set terrible trouble upon them.

The author developed other supporting characters in the town who made me want to see the town of Cellar protected. I admire the way he wove nightmares and paranormal elements into the story. It made the tension quickly escalate as Adriana and Matthew try to unravel the mystery. Drug abuse and unexplained attacks led to deadly tragedies. The characters had to struggle to maintain their equilibrium, making Adriana's fight for survival even more desperate.

I'd like to thank Alan Lastufka, his publishers, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read Face the Night as a free advanced reading copy. I don't feel any obligation while writing my honest review: it's a good read!
Profile Image for Vivian Hernandez.
6 reviews4 followers
March 6, 2022
Absolutely thrilling and haunting. Filled with imagery that will stay in your head until the mystery is solved. Wonderfully broken and complex characters that jump off the page and bring Cellar to life. A marvelous story that embodies horror.
Profile Image for Cass (only the darkest reads) .
330 reviews30 followers
May 30, 2022
All Adriana wants is stability: Money to cover rent and living. A safe space for her and her son. Her dream is to be a tattoo artist, a career she's destined for, but a career her overbearing father - the mayor of the town she lives in - doesn't support.

To make matters worse he's trying to get custody of her son. A battle she's bound to lose, but when the judge gives her a stay of a month - to find a steady job - she knows she will do whatever it takes to keep her son where he belongs. Home with her.

While it seems like the odds are stacked against her, a twist of fate lands her in the police station, and a job opportunity as a police sketch artist arises. An unorthodox opportunity to use her artistic skills.

But Adriana has been plagued by nightmares, and while she's trying to draw the face of her perp she instead draws the face of a decaying man. Of a hand that's trying to pull her deep into the bottom of a lake. These dreams cause her to do violent things. Nightmares that hint at a secret rotting deep in the heart of the town. Secrets that many powerful men do not want to come to light.

While I loved the family drama dynamic of the story, I struggled to connect to the supernatural elements.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Shortwave Media for an ARC of this title.
Profile Image for Jacqui.
238 reviews3 followers
March 15, 2022
Face the Night is a horror thriller and a tale of long-awaited vengeance.

Adriana is a mother desperately trying to keep custody of her son, Dylan, while her father, the mayor, wants to remove him as he feels Adriana is an unfit mother. Currently without a job, and trying to make ends meet as a now-and-then tattoo artist, Adriana has asked her ex Eric, a deadbeat druggie, to help plead her case in court. With a month to find something permanent, she must make a plan ASAP.

After a mishap lands her at the police station, Adriana uses her sketching skills to snag a temp gig as a sketch artist. And she meets Officer Hinkley, who seems a little sweet on her. Unbeknown to the officer, Adriana suffers from terrible nightmares where she sees a terrifying face coming for her while she is underwater. These have been happening for years, but the face never gets clearer.

As her father campaigns for re-election, as well as to take her child, Adriana must delve into the meaning behind the face as well as put everything she has into securing her child’s future. But as with many small-town secrets, some things do not want to remain buried…

I was hooked by the promise of an early Stephen King-type book and I’ll say that I enjoyed the book and also didn’t enjoy it. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the book, nothing new came out that made me go – wow, I’d never have thought of that. Lots of strange decisions made and some directions not quite explained/closed.

(Spoilers ahead)
Adriana was a likeable character at times, and her desperation at trying to do the right thing for her son came through. Then she’d do something stupid like leaving her ex to look after her child while she decides a “few drinks won’t hurt” and goes out. This with her ex never having looked after the child before.
Then there is the issue with her seeing the face – when she eventually figures out what it’s about, it’s not really something that couldn’t have been guessed earlier. All the clues were there. It was just a case of whodunnit. But why did the face take so long to really make itself known?
The neighbour’s deaf daughter gets used to protect Adriana from doing something bad while possibly under the influence of the face. This seemed very irresponsible on her part and puts everyone in a potential dodgy situation there.
While I get that her new love interest was rebelling against what was happening in the police station, the risks he took for Adriana seemed extreme.

I’d call this a small-town thriller rife with “anything-to-win” politics and a dash of supernatural horror. It needed a lot more to call itself a genuine horror story. It was one of those where, after I turned the last page, I just said, “Oh.” Kinda fizzled out at the end with too many tangents. It was a good effort for a first-time novel, but one I wouldn’t read again, even if to try to pick up more details.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review the novel.
Profile Image for David Wilson.
Author 167 books196 followers
November 8, 2022
In his debut novel, Alan Lastufka introduces us to Addy, a troubled young single mother whose only current employment is doing an occasional tattoo. She's a gifted artist, but has been haunted by visions and dreams that make it difficult for her to interact with others. She and her son are surviving on charity from her estranged father, mayor of the town and not about to let anyone forget it.

The story launches from a custody battle. Addy's father is trying to to take her son from her to be raised in his home, where he continually reminds everyone he can provide a stable environment. Not helping at all, really, Addy's ex husband, her son's father, is in town to lend moral support in court. He's a construction worker with a drug and alcohol addiction.

When the court mandates that she find a solid job, or give up custody, Addy falls through a series of coincidental events into a position as a police sketch artist. Her visions crop up again, though, and things get dark.

What follows is a plot that winds through the seedy local political world, good old boy networks, cold cases and crumbling minds. With a couple of newfound allies on her side, Addy has to find the cause of her inner demons and exorcise them, while keeping one step ahead of her fathers machinations. A fast-paced, intriguing thriller.

I listened to the audiobook. The narrator was not optimal, but the story drew me along. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Samantha.
Author 24 books27 followers
March 14, 2022
Going in, I thought this book would be more traditional horror than anything else, and while that wasn't really the case I still did enjoy reading it. I liked meeting Adriana, who reminds me of some of my old high school friends, and how her life sort of unraveled when she got pregnant with her loser ex-boyfriends kid. Being under the thumb of her father, who is also the sleazy mayor of a small town, also kind of reminds me of home, so I suppose that may be part of why I did enjoy it so much.

The paranormal elements were interesting, and I liked watching the past reveal itself in small bits and pieces. The ending was nice, it tied things together, and I don't feel like it was rushed at all. That can sadly be the case for a lot of horror-type novels, so a good wrap up was appreciated.

All books have flaws, and this one is no exception. There were a few things I didn't care for, or that I think could have been left out to make the story tighter, but it was still a good first effort. I have some pals who I think will like the story, and I will definitely keep an eye on Alan Lastufka's future endeavors!
Profile Image for Lyndie.
368 reviews70 followers
August 3, 2023
To be honest, I don't even know where to start with my review for this book. Im not sure exactly what I was expecting, but the minute I saw the eerie cover art, I knew that I had to grab a copy of this book!

Adriana Krause is one hell of an artist. From a young age, she has had a gift for bringing life to sketches. Recently, she landed a job working as a sketch artist for the local PD. As a single mom currently wrapped up in a custody battle, this job couldn't have come at a better time.

Everything seems to be looking up until, while sketching a suspect, Adriene instead draws a rotting and mangled face. This isn't just any face. This face has haunted Adrienes nightmares for a very long time.

Now, Adriene must fight to keep her son while also trying to solve the mystery behind the face. Who is this, and how are they connected to Adriene? Why are they haunting her nightmares?

Even in small towns, the deepest and darkest secrets can't always stay buried.

This book is perfect for lovers of both mystery and supernatural horror. Overall, I found this to be a pretty solid debut novel, albeit a bit hefty at nearly 400 pages. I quite enjoyed trying to piece together the mystery of the face. I also believe that the supernatural portions of this book were well written and creepy. I would definitely consider reading more from Lastufka in the future.
Profile Image for Haley Neal.
68 reviews3 followers
March 6, 2022
Wow this was definitely a very intriguing book...I’m not usually the type to read supernatural horror but i definitely don’t regret reading this one!

Adriana has been haunted by the same nightmare since she was a child, she is in a lake, in the dark murky water as a rotting arm threatens to drag her down.

By pure luck Adriana has landed a job as a sketch artist at the local police station just what she needs to satisfy the court in terms of her custody battle but as her nightmares become more intense and take over her ability to focus she begins to spiral out of control..

I loved that a corrupt mystery was pulled into this story and we uncover things as the main character does, the corruption runs deep and you’ll never guess just how far some are willing to go to keep it from coming to light.

Thank you to NetGalley, Shortwave media, and Alan Lastufka for giving me the opportunity to read this!!!
Profile Image for Breezer.
5 reviews1 follower
February 28, 2022
I really wanted to like this book, but I felt a bit like it didn't know what it was and that identity struggle made for a slow, unsatisfying read, with a rushed ending.

Is it a family drama? Is it a social commentary on race and drugs in the 80s? Is it a romance? A police procedural? A paranormal haunt? That answer is, it is really none of those things, but there is a toe in each proverbial pond pulling readers in many different directions with no true course to follow.

I didn't *not* like the book, I just didn't really LIKE the book. I appreciated what it was trying to do with the mystery paired with the paranormal aspects, but it never really got there in the end for me. Also, from a disability advocate standpoint, I felt like the hearing impaired character was written from the most ableist view humanly possible, which was pretty disappointing.
Profile Image for Rachel (atimetothrill).
403 reviews6 followers
July 23, 2022
Mixed thoughts on this. This was almost a cozy mystery for 80% of the book with pops of horror because of the MC's scary dreams. But then towards the end there is a graphic and gory horror scene and then soon after there is a very violent scene against a child. So the mix of almost-cozy and graphic was really jarring and unpleasant. And then the ending was suddenly fantastical lol. I don't know...The writing style was easy to read, though, and I did like the characters and how things played out. I was intrigued to read through the end. So I think this has earned 3 stars.

Thanks to Shortwave Media for a free digital galley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for The Morbid Mama.
31 reviews61 followers
March 9, 2022
I tried so hard to push through this book. I felt that it had so much potential but I wasn't able to push myself further :( I am one of those people that truly hates having to DNF a book. But Face the Night just wasn't the book for me. I felt that it focused far more on icky small town politics (which is pretty horrific in itself), instead of actual horror. I made it to about 40% and had to call it quits. I'm sure that others out there will truly love this book more though! I think that others should still give it a go and see how they like it for themselves :)
Profile Image for Alexandra.
113 reviews12 followers
October 2, 2022
I hesitate to rate books so low, but this was marketed as a horror novel and, despite my own very broad definition of what horror encompasses... it really did not read like a horror novel. It struck me more as a light thriller blended with some supernatural elements. This would maybe be categorized as "Lifetime channel horror" at best.

Aside from that, I simply found the writing too simplistic and the plot too predictable; as well, the saccharine sweet ending really didn't do it for me.
Profile Image for Autumn Nelson.
61 reviews1 follower
February 13, 2022
Face the Night by Alan Lastufka. I was introduced to this book through a NetGalley release. I was intrigued by the cover art and I love anything paranormal and supernatural. This novel did not disappoint entirely.

Underground tattoo artist Adriana Krause has a talent for drawing faces that have no names and no voice of their own, which through a series of unfortunate events, lands Adriana a part-time job at her local police station. Adriana also has a talent less well-known of being able to see and talk to the dead. For most of her life, Adriana had been plagued with nightmares of a rotting corpse at the bottom of a lake. She has always ran from the corpse, but one night she decided to take the nightmare in a different direction and began exploring the landscape. Through her exploration she uncovers terrible secrets long hidden by the prominent society of small town Cellar, Ohio.

I liked this story. For some reason I am having a very hard time figuring out what I want to say about it 😕. This novel is very well written, easy to read, and has an interesting story. For those of us who have spent a lot of their life researching the paranormal and doing the field work in ghost hunting adventures, this story is actually very plausible to happen in real life. I think a big part of it is that a lot of the characters are just there, coming and going, and while they might have a tiny part in the story some of them are not explored to their full extent? I don’t know. I like the main characters – Adriana – very relatable. Her new manfriend – Officer Matt Hinkley – a nice guy in uniform. It is hinted throughout that Adriana has some sort of psychic abilities but it seems she has never explored them, so you can assume that rather than embracing them she instead hides from her senses. But that is what it is, an assumption. You don’t find out why, like her mother had abilities but died before Adriana could learn about it. She doesn’t really explore them in the novel, she just lives with these nightmares but really doesn’t seem to have an interest to find out why until randomly one night she changes her tune and does something different than the last 20 years. Everyone is just kind of there, nobody really jumps off the pages, including the screaming spirit. Plus you will never impress me with a “the ghost appears and flies around the room screaming at people” scene 😆.

There is a lot with this novel that isn’t explained. After so many years, why does this spirit come back now? Why is it attacking random people? Why is the spirit appearing in places that have absolutely no relevance to how he died? It all just doesn’t fit or come together in a manner that made me feel complete. I’ll give you one major example that follows throughout the book, but if I went through every one this would be a novel in itself 😋 We will work through Adriana here – When we are introduced to her she is a struggling tattoo artist (but with no aspirations to actually make it a career), she is arrested for accidentally shoplifting (so we meet Matt) and Adriana’s talent for drawing faces comes out, she is hired as a sketch artist for the police (really ends up being a dead end job that she runs out of because she only draws the one face), her deaf neighbor and psychologist mother help Adriana work through the face drawings which brings about the whole plot. So, basically the entire story line of Adriana being a tattoo artist, sketch artist, and everything revolving around that is basically not needed. I feel like it would have been more satisfying for me if Adriana was a struggling tarot card reader, the nightmares could remain the same, but the spirit could manifest itself through a session with his sister, Adriana could do automatic writing/drawing of the face, still have her neighbor help her out, still meet Hinkley because Adriana finds out what the spirit wants, etc. It was all just a tad clunky, but with the help of someone who knows more about the paranormal/supernatural world it could be a great story.

Rating: 3 stars
Content warning: murder
Profile Image for Just A Ginger.
568 reviews21 followers
March 6, 2022
Thank you NetGalley and Shortwave Media for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 rounded up to 4

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect going into this book and I got something unexpected but not unenjoyable. It was fast paced and interesting. The paranormal aspect touches a toe into the horror feel and it felt gritty which I love in a horror novel but it almost felt more like a thriller. I'm conflicted about the genre, but either or, it was a good read.

When I say gritty, I mean it had a cast of characters that were not very good people, not very likable. I don't need likable characters in my horror books, in fact I prefer if everyone is messed up because that is the reality in the gritty side of the world. The dark side, the wrong path walkers if you will. If anyone knows about horror in true life, it's those people. They made the atmosphere of the book dark which always heightens the story for me.

I liked the plot. I thought it went a very interesting way and I enjoyed the ending and what happened to everyone. It wrapped up very well and a lot of times endings are such big misses so we really have to appreciate a good ending. There wasn't any point where I wanted to set it down, not a dull moment. I even hate politics and I didn't mind that the majority of the book was about a reelection.

Now we have to get into the ugly part. I have to say I hated the main character. I know I said I like unlikable characters in my horror but she was more then unlikable, I hated Adriana. I really don't want to be a judgmental jerk but she drove me nuts. She hated being under her fathers thumb but didn't try very hard to get a job at all it seemed. She left her kid in the most dangerous situations. You agree to go out for drinks when you have a drug addict watching your child? After you've already been gone for hours? I also don't believe he had ever watched the child before so that was wild.

Then there was the time where she depended on a girl who was deaf to stop her from leaving the house. In addition to that scenario she could have easily hurt her own child without realizing what she was doing and the poor girl wouldn't have known anything was going on. If she's asleep, she's not going to notice you leaving. She won't notice if you've lost your mind and hurt your child.

That's not all! Adriana walked her child as close as she could to a shooting scene. A three-year old doesn't need to see that. Having two three-year old kids myself I had a hard time watching this woman make such stupid choices.

The good news is besides really disliking Adriana and thinking her parenting skills leave a lot to be desired - the only other thing I didn't like was her relationship with Matt. I would have loved it, if Matt wasn't so cardboard feeling. He didn't feel like a real person. He made wild choices risking his job without even considering the repercussions. He just felt like a little shadow tag along. If he had still made the same choices but acted like he was worried a little bit, it would have felt more realistic. It just seemed like as soon as he saw her he felt some type of way and then was off in la la land for the rest of the book.

Face the Night sent me back to the days of the 80s horror almost and I am a sucker for 80s horror. I'm getting some Jason vibes from it. The paranormal aspect was done very well, and I really enjoyed the descriptions of her nightmares. Which come to think of it, gives me some Freddy Kruger vibes which I love.

Overall I enjoyed it and I look forward to reading more from this author.

On a side note, I find it super cool that he was born in Milwaukee, a city I visit often and one that is only an hour away from my hometown. I love to support a fellow Wisconsinite, even one that escaped Wisconsin and it's awful winters.
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