The Doll

Rated 4.47/5 based on 15 reviews
The Island of the Dolls is a strange and eerie tourist destination in Mexico, where hundreds of decomposing dolls hang from trees like grisly Christmas ornaments. On a trip to the island, Joyce Parker's daughter falls in love with a beautiful but sinister doll. More
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  • Category: Fiction » Horror » General
  • Words: 8,650
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781465927972
About J.C. Martin

J.C. Martin is a displaced Malaysian living in South London, England, with her husband and three dogs. After working in pharmaceutical research and in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun to good use. She now teaches martial arts, and writes whenever she can. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies for New Asian Writing, Pill Hill Press and Static Movement, and she is the winner of the 2010 IFWG Publishing Story Quest Short Story Contest.

Learn more about J.C. Martin

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Reviews of The Doll by J.C. Martin

TValada reviewed on Dec. 27, 2019

If you see & read a lot of horror stories you know that spirits, children and dolls are very used as scary elements. 'The Doll' has all tree combined, creating a super creepy vibe right from the start. The story has a good pace but the end didn't surprised me althought it wasn't bad, just predictable. For me what's refreshing and different is the whole cultural/religious background, which I didn't know anything about and really liked to learn.
(review of free book)
Filipa Maia reviewed on Dec. 23, 2018

What a wonderful short story! This book was recommended to me by someone who loves horror stories, and it was not a disappointment. The combination of religion / magic, small children and dolls - why are dolls so scary? - makes this a pretty creepy story. So, if you are looking for a small, scary story, this is the one for you.
(review of free book)
John Mc Caffrey reviewed on Nov. 25, 2013

The Doll, by J.C. Martin is a wonderfully written shorty story, full of believable characters. Ms. Martin pulls the reader easily into the relationship between Taylor and Joyce from the first page. Highly recommended read.
(review of free book)
loretta martinez reviewed on Aug. 17, 2013

This was a good little story. I was disappointed in the length of the book. I felt there could of been more to it. Over all it was a good read. Not a 5 star in my opinion
(review of free book)
Nancy DeFreitas reviewed on Dec. 25, 2011

This was a very interesting book, and I reacommend it to anyone who wants a good read.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Anthony Bee reviewed on Dec. 7, 2011

I really enjoyed this short story. It was engaging and beautifully written, with an unexpected ending that raised the hairs on the back of my neck! Very atmospheric throughout, I was spellbound to the last page.

You may never look at your daughter's dolls in quite the same way again...
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Juliana Brandt reviewed on Dec. 6, 2011

I must admit, I'm not a fan of horror. Frankly, it creeps me out. J.C. Martin is such a fabulous storyteller though that once I read the first page, there was no other option but to read the rest.

Joyce visits the Island of the Dolls, where corpse-like dolls are strung from trees. Creepy right? From there, Joyce's world slowly falls apart as she realizes a spirit from the Island has followed her and her daughter home.

I thought I had The Doll's ending pegged. That it would have a cliche ghost story ending, but boy was I wrong. The ending had me thrown for a loop that made me go bad and read the whole thing again.

Can't wait for more from Martin!
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Gregory Dahler reviewed on Dec. 2, 2011

Good read. Recommend it for other horror writers.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
M V reviewed on Nov. 16, 2011

"The Doll" had a few rough moments, specifically with participle tenses - I caught a few cases where "have lost" should have been "had lost", or using "may be" for a past scenario (should be "might have been"). There was also a passage where a set of quotation marks was missing, which gave me a little confusion as to the number of tour guides. (Additionally, the Spanish spoken by the native guide had a few mistakes as well; "munecas" should have been "muñecas" with a tilde, and as a feminine plural, the correct modifier is "las", not "la". "Trajineras" is a plural noun; if referring to only one canoe/gondola, "trajinera" should have been used instead.) Overall, though, the mistakes were quite minor and didn't merit much more than a brief pause.

Now, my favorite part - onto the good! First of all, this author has a real talent for description, creating imagery that you can experience in all five senses. The descriptions are both complex and succint, a winning combination that really brings the page to life. Take the following passage for example:

He heaved his sunburnt bulk onto the rotting pier, the arthritic planks groaning and shivering in protest of his weight.

Or how about this?

Vines and weeds strangled the decomposing structure, dragging it into the earth, returning its elements back to nature.

Just superb! Great verb choice, sparse yet perfect adjectives, and a sense of movement throughout the entire passage that built dramatic tension.

Another thing I really liked about this work was the depiction of interpersonal relationships. The dynamic between mother and child was touching and true to life, and I could really empathize in the frustration between the mother and her ex - especially in scenes about parenting (not that I have children.)

Finally, I originally thought that the ending would be fairly easy to guess. I mean, it was pretty clear where the work was going, right? So I was pleasantly surprised by a twist ending that was both creepy and chilling!

All in all, I'd have to give this 4.2 stars. Great descriptions, a decent plot, in need of some more editing.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Nicole Gruebel reviewed on Nov. 2, 2011

This story is like a rollercoaster, just as any good horror-story should be like.
It starts nice and slow, so that you almost miss the first glimpse of what lurks in the shadows or in the trees or in a creepy hut.
Then you think you are safe, only to stop reading for a moment when you realize your are not safe at all.
And once the ball gets rolling, it certainly keeps you on your toes!
I won't spoil the ending, but 5 stars should be proof enough that I found it brilliant.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
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