When three friends go on holiday to Bulgaria, protecting themselves from sunburn is their only concern. But when they run into a beast unlike any they've ever imagined, it becomes a savage fight for survival. They will burn in the day... but the night holds even darker terrors in store.
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I read Darren Dash's alter-ego ever since I was twelve. That's nearly a decade of dedication. When he moved into the adult horror genre and I was privileged to review The Evil And The Pure, I was so excited. When he contacted me to review his next book, Sunburn, I might have fangirled a little bit. Just a little!
I read Sunburn over three days, savoring each word, each scene. Not because I am biased by my longtime fandom, but because it was just that good.
Rarely in a horror novel does the reader get the chance to really get to know the characters like you do in Sunburn. You know every crevice of their souls, what they like and what they hate; what their hopes and dreams are; who they love. Usually, when a horror novel takes almost halfway through to get bloody, I lose interest. But the beginning isn't just fluffy filler, it's important. It's important that you get to know and love (or hate) the three main characters before the "creature" finds them.
Throughout the book, you get short chapters from the "creature's" POV, which is unique and extremely intriguing, making you want to read on and know just what this thing is, what it wants, and what it has to do with Martini, Newt and Curran.
I cannot go on enough about the book, how great it is and how entertaining. This is an author who knows his stuff, knows how to make the readers laugh, cry and scream in terror, whether he's writing for adults or teens.
To call this a must-read is an understatement!
5/5--introspective, interesting horror!
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My EXCLUSIVE Interview With Darren Dash:
1. What was the inspiration behind Sunburn?
I have pale skin and get sunburnt very easily, and I never seem to learn my lesson! After yet another scorching, I found myself wondering what it would be like to be stranded in the middle of nowhere, with a monster on the prowl, while completely naked, defenseless and terribly sunburnt. And it all grew from there.
2. You spent a good part of the novel taking us through the characters' daily life, letting us get to know them before getting into the action. What made you decide to do that?
Let's be honest here -- this is a schlocky story. I make no apologies for that -- I wanted to write a fun, over the top monster tale, that does what it says on the tin. At the same time, there's no reason why a schlocky story shouldn't be as carefully plotted and peopled as a more realistic, serious tale. The mistake many horror writers and movie people make is in assuming that the characters are unimportant, only there to be terrorised and torn apart by the monsters. I wanted to write a book where readers would grow to know and side with the main characters, where they would be interested in what happened for them, and rooting for them when the worst came to pass. As Stephen King has often proved, it IS possible to tell a throwaway story that manages to be a decent read at the same time, and this was my attempt to do that.
3. The "beast" is introduced to us slowly and vaguely, at the beginning of each section. Was that done to build anticipation for the reader?
Actually, in the first draft I didn't mention the beast at all, but the introduction of it was then too jarring. There needed to be a build-up and a gradual reveal, not least so that readers would know the nature of the story that they were committing to -- I didn't want to trick people into thinking this was going to be a gently-paced character study, only to suddenly drop them into the middle of a hellish man vs beast scenario.
4. How did you decide exactly what kind of creature you were using in the story?
I knew it was going to be some sort of Bigfoot-type creature, but I didn't have the specifics clear in mind when I started. They grew out of the storytelling.
5. Would you like to see this as a film? How would you want a studio to execute it?
It would be lovely to see it adapted, especially as I think it's a story that would lend itself neatly to film, except maybe for the nudity angle -- I suspect he'd keep his boxer shorts on in the movie! I won't be holding my breath, but hopefully it will happen one day...