David's Reviews > Intercepts

Intercepts by T.J. Payne
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really liked it
bookshelves: horror

In INTERCEPTS, TJ Payne manages to appeal to fans of psychological horror and more grisly scares. The setting is a remote facility where humans are used as tuning forks to spy on government targets. Joe, our protagonist, is the head supervisor of the facility. His family gets involved when his ex-wife kills herself under mysterious circumstances, leaving their teenage daughter, Riley, in Joe’s care.

The first 150-some pages of INTERCEPTS don’t contain much in the way of scares, but Payne does begin playing head games even as he’s introducing you to characters and the facility, the primary setting of his story. His writing style is engaging and to-the-point, never dragging over description and exposition. Between some early bloodletting, establishing character arcs and premise, and good pacing, there was more than enough to keep me interested.

Things kick into high gear when readers and characters begin to comprehend what seemingly supernatural forces are tormenting Joe and Riley. The rest of the book balances gore (horror) and psychological, is-this-really-happening scares (terror) while following through on character arcs.

My only complaints concern the writing style. I want to stress that I enjoyed Payne’s voice and diction overall, but a few frustrating habits did stick out. Most importantly, he sometimes comes across like he’s trying to hard to tell the readers to be afraid: italicizing and underlining and capitalizing words; throwing in a few clichés; alternating between italics and underlining.

Second, Payne’s overuse of emphasis may be an indication that he doesn’t trust readers to understand what he’s saying or what’s happening. Trust your readers. Fewer instances of emphasis (italics, underlines, or both) makes the few instances that should remain all the more impactful.

Nitpicks aside, INTERCEPTS wallows in bloodletting but never loses its focus on psychological terror. Physical wounds heal, but assaults on one’s senses and sanity can last forever.

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Reading Progress

October 12, 2019 – Started Reading
October 12, 2019 – Shelved
October 12, 2019 – Shelved as: horror
October 19, 2019 – Finished Reading

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