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As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.
I would never go down to the basement.
I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys that wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.
Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn't take long before I felt the urge to create my own.
I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that's were it begins--as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I've spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they're quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse--the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don't know what it's like, they don't understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you've never been, introduce you to people you've never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that's when you know it's good.
J.D. Barker lives in Lake Worth, Florida where he is hard at work on a novel and his syndicated newspaper column, Revealed.
on April 26, 2015 :
Forsaken by J.D. Barker was the first book I have read by this author and will not be my last. This was a grade A suspenseful horror story that had top notch character and plot development that pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let you go! Barker weaves a haunting tale that captures the imagination and leaves you wanting more. Loved the nod to King as well! I cannot wait to read the second in the series. A big thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review
(reviewed 12 days after purchase)
on Nov. 18, 2014 :
Magnificent read. The story exists on the land that straddles suspense, thriller, and good ol' supernatural chill-fest. The term "page-turner" has become cliched to the point of lost meaning, yet with Forsaken, we are reminded where the phrase was born: between the pages of just such a book as this.
Moving the story along at a rushing river's clip, Barker braids two tales together in a dance between present and past. We begin getting the slightest feeling that the two might be more intertwined than we at first suspected, but are kept in delighted suspense until Barker lets us see.
He is generous in a manner. The reader is given an omnipresent view of the world inside the covers, and this serves to build tension as we become invested in the characters, sometimes wishing to grab them by the shoulders and shake them to their good senses, other times wanting desperately to tell them what's happening just outside their line of sight.
All of these ingredients are combined in a clever and delicious story, one that reads fast and fun, and with just enough darkness laying over Barker's land to make us wonder, to make us check over our shoulders one more time, to watch the shadows... they're only shadows, right?
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)