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The Fallen Boys: A Novel of Psychological Horror Paperback – February 13, 2018
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A Novel of Psychological Horror
Memories scream behind every blink: the footage of Marshall’s son, Noah, and of his long, fatal fall. Remains beneath a blood-stained morgue sheet. Good times, shattered.
Marshall’s hunger to understand the reason for his son’s suicide devours his life. It appears that the boy’s secret will remain buried with him—until Marshall discovers something tucked into the seams of a musty, old teddy bear. It is a portable thumb-drive, the contents painting a chilling portrait of a child who was desperate to be heard, and his mysterious Internet friend who was only too happy to listen. And whisper, whisper, whisper.
Step by step, Marshall must track these digital footprints into very real and very dark woods, unaware that he is being led into a maze of lies and violence from which he may never return.
The Fallen Boys is a gut-wrenching novel of extreme psychological horror from the author of House of Sighs and Where the Dead Go to Die.
“…A terrific book. Beautiful and brutal. Heartbreaking and incredibly emotional.” – Mick Garris (director of Stephen King’s The Stand, and creator of Masters of Horror)
“A tale you will never forget, as told by one of the most important new voices in the genre.” – Hellnotes
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- Publisher : Black T-Shirt Books; 2nd edition (February 13, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 372 pages
- ISBN-10 : 099945191X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0999451915
- Item Weight : 14.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.93 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2020
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Top reviews from the United States
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One of the acclaimed attributes of the writing of the young Steven King was creating real-to-life, ordinary characters and placing them in horrifyingly extraordinary situations. Dries easily outdoes King in this aspect as unexpected and painful tragedy seizes hold of the Deakins family. Alternating perspectives as events reach their climax, Dries not only creates suspense, but some of the most heart-wrenching series of events readers are likely to experience—so much so that it is difficult not to put the book down for a reviving moment of peace of mind. Such powerful and moving writing is rare, but it is nothing compared to the sheer, absolute terror that awaits readers as they continue with The Fallen Boys.
Revelations about the tragedy that engulfs the Deakins come from two frightening sources, both with roots in modern technology, but one of which is shrouded in mystery. As Marshall sets out to solve that mystery and what was a horrible accident starts to become an apparently calculated, heartless murder, The Fallen Boys takes a dark turn—a very, very dark turn that relentlessly burrows into appalling depths of horror dragging the wincing, wide-eyed reader into a sadistic, lurid world of torture and psychopathic belief leading to the most gruesome of behavior.
Dries’ use of particular, well described settings as well as details playing upon the five senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound bring the story vividly to life. As such, his writing lends the story believability, albeit horrendously so as events refuse the reader any relief. Ironically, early in the novel the omniscient narrator states hope calcifies and at each reoccurring possibility during which it appears there might be hope for one of the character(s) and goodness has a chance to defeat evil, Dries throws another hardball of evil, misfortune, and despair at his both his character(s) and reader.
The influence of modern films and television shows ranging from Twin Peaks (which is mentioned in the novel) to gore fests such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Saw movies, and even Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (based upon the famous creation of Robert Bloch—a writer who also garners mention in the novel) appears to be a part of Dreis’ inspiration.
The paradox that exists between the early, poignant portions of The Fallen Boys and the latter ones are illustrative of a remarkable and diverse imagination and talent. Be it dream-like sequences, delusions, or grisly fact for his characters including exactly what is “The Forgiveness” as well as the introduction of additional characters, Dries bludgeons readers with one vividly depicted irony and cruelty after another. The old cliché is an actuality: The Fallen Boys is not for the squeamish.
Upon the conclusion of The Fallen Boys which Dries has described in an interview as “a blood-splattered and horrific cautionary tale,” Dries stays true to his vision and inimitable approach to horror and readers are left with having undergone an unforgettable reading experience. [NOTE: Currently out of print, Dries’ first novel, HOUSE OF SIGHS, will also be re-issued this spring.]
This book follows Marshall, an Aussie man who is living a happy life. He notices his son has been acting a bit strange, but, nothing too out of the normal. Anyways, one day, the son commits suicide in a public area and a very horrific way. The suicide shakes Marshall and his wife Claire to the core. It ruins their marriage and leaves Marshall a husk of his former self. That is until he finds a USB with pages of documents. He then goes on a quest to find the person who is responsible for all his pain.
This is a novel told with pure emotion, it's shocking, it's brutal, it's sad, it puts you through the ringer. Dries is a writer who has the talent to evoke those emotions from the reader. I don't want to give too much of this book away, other than, it needs to be read.
My only complaint is, well, the violence. I feel at times it was a bit TOO extreme and it took me out of the text a little bit.
Final Judgement: You don't want forgiveness
The one thing that this book proves is that Aaron Dries can write, and boy does he do it well. Gripping, flawed characters and a heartbreaking journey delve into a pit so dark, some readers might never find themselves back into the light. The Fallen Boys is a seriously adult story with a hell of a twist. A blend of Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, and Richard Laymon. This book is the real deal but squeamish readers should be warned. The final third is extremely graphic and brutal, nearing the level of writer Wade H. Garrett. My only problem with the book was a scene in a morgue, where author Dries very briefly jumped the shark and what began as a realistic, emotional story entered into the land of Troma films and out-of-left-field gore for no reason. This pulled me right out of the story, but fortunately, the small section was over quickly and the story returned back to earth with its realism. One of the best books I've read this year. Aaron Dries has catapulted into my top 15 must read horror writers being published today.
This is an expertly crafted tale, filled with deep emotion and jaw-dropping surprises. Dries writes prose with a jeweler's precision, and has the rare ability to flesh out characters with just a few paragraphs.
The narrative itself starts out with a slow but riveting build-up to a horrific tragedy, then follows the main character through its aftermath, as he (and we) discover the sickening mind games which led to it. From there, the story takes several turns which lead us ever deeper into the twisted world of its antagonists.
A novel as wonderful as this is cause for celebration. This was my first solo Dries read, and I'm hungry for more.
Top reviews from other countries
If you like your scares based in the real world (no ghosts, vampires or zombies to be found) pick this up. You thank/hate me for it.