Monday, September 19, 2016

The Awakening by Brett McBean [5 stars]

From the Description
Welcome to the small Midwestern town of Belford, Ohio. It’s a quiet, friendly town. On one corner of Main Street you’ll find Barb’s Corner Store. Opposite you’ll see the town square, with its neatly trimmed lawn and statuesque gazebo. There’s everything you need here. There’s even a local bogeyman. You know the type: reclusive, looks a little strange. The person all the kids are afraid of. Every town has one. Except this one is stranger than most.

Meet Mr. Joseph. With his severely crooked neck and nasty facial scar, the old man from Haiti is the one resident all the kids whisper about and are scared to go near. But there are things about Mr. Joseph no one knows about. He has no heartbeat. No breath passes by his lips. And he has been dead for over ninety years.

It’s summer vacation and fourteen-year-old Toby Fairchild is looking forward to spending a lazy, carefree summer playing basketball, staying up late watching monster movies, and camping out in his backyard with his best friend, Frankie.

But then tragedy strikes. And out of this tragedy an unlikely friendship develops between Toby and the strange old man across the street, Mr. Joseph. Over the course of a tumultuous summer, Toby will be faced with pain and death, the excitement of his first love, and the underlying racism of the townsfolk, all while learning about the value of freedom at the hands of a kind but cursed old man.

Every town has a dark side. And in Belford, the local bogeyman has a story to tell.

Note: Book cover by Kealan Patrick Burke (

Publication Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Bloodshot Books

Publication Length: 485 pages

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way reflected in my opinion of this story. To find out more about Brett McBean and The Awakening follow along the tour with these hashtags: #TheAwakening #BrettMcBean #BloodshotBooks #HookofaBook #OhioHorror and don't forget to join me on Wednesday for my interview with Brett. If you are a blogger, author, or member of the media and you would like to feature The Awakening or Brett McBean in a review or interview, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at

The Awakening is a coming of age horror tale with a twist. This is one of the best books I've read all year, and if you follow my reviews you know that that's a lot of books. Brett McBean has captured both the good and bad things about living in a small town and the people who live there. The quiet, and sometimes not so quiet, prejudices against those that are perceived as different or strange, the unthinking cruelty of both children and adults as well as the comfort of knowing who your neighbor is and a sense of history. The characters are realistic and easy to care about. I loved Toby and Frankie, the conversations and shenanigans they get into are utterly believable and at times laugh out loud funny. Toby's pain in the face of tragedy had me in tears. I also loved Mr. Joseph, a kind old man who has a fascinating history. Zombie books are everywhere these days and let's face it they can be pretty hit or miss in terms of being both original and good books. What you don't see a lot of is zombi's in their original form, brought about as a Vodou curse from an evil Bocor for revenge or to be used as a slave. The zombi in The Awakening is far more horrifying and sympathetic than the shambling dead that want to eat you and far less horrible and terrifying than some of the people you'll find here. I highly recommend this exceptional 5 star read.
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About the Author

Brett McBean is an award-winning horror and thriller author. His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game, have been published in Australia, the U.S., and Germany. His latest book, The Invasion, was published by Sinister Grin Press and has been optioned for a movie.

He’s been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards, and he won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness.

He lives in Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd.

You can find him at his website, or on Facebook and GoodReads
Praise for The Awakening

"A story that raises itself above a simple horror tale, THE AWAKENING resonates with heart while applying just the right amount of chills. Highly recommended!" – Ronald Malfi, author of THE NIGHT PARADE

"THE AWAKENING is a riveting and fascinating novel that really grabs readers. I loved that it’s a coming of age novel that thrusts readers into the story and won’t let them go. Brett McBean was already one of my favorite authors but The Awakening is one of the best books I’ve read in years, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!" – John R. Little, author of THE MEMORY TREE, MIRANDA, and URSA MAJOR

"A coming-of-age tale that hit me in the gut, THE AWAKENING ranks up there with James Newman’s MIDNIGHT RAIN, SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons, and THE BODY by the grand master of them all, Stephen King. This is one that you’ll recommend to your friends for years to come." – Pete Kahle, author of THE SPECIMEN

"The Awakening is on par with Stephen King’s story, The Body, which was the basis of the movie "Stand By Me." It is a story that, at times made me chuckle and also brought me to tears, more than once. When the truth is revealed, it was unexpected and enlightening." –Frank Errington