The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz – Book Review

Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation. The Dark Game.

Dark Reads Review

4.5 Stars!

Thank you to Jonathan Janz, Flame Tree Press and NetGlley for the ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first Jonathan Janz read, I had heard lots of good things so was super excited to get started on this.

The premise of a group of authors unknowingly being entered into a twisted game against each other, while being confronted by demons from their pasts had me hooked and I wasn’t disappointed!

The story starts quite briskly, with the authors arriving at the retreat separately, over the first few chapters there are many characters introduced, I must admit it took me several chapters to recognize the individual characters and their back stories.

Having said that I felt that the characterization was brilliant! They were all well rounded and mostly likable, I found it really impressive that they all had such distinct personalities and stories, which is no mean feat for a book with so many! I loved the way each character had individual writing styles, there were 10 books within this book! I thought the snippets from their manuscripts and diaries gave a really clever insight into each of them.

The setting was perfect; creepy mansion in the middle of woods that seem to go on for ever, check! Eerie corridors, rooms and basements, check! The deranged and creepy host, check! What’s not to love right?!

Janz writing was original and at the same time this book gave me a real ‘classic horror’ feeling and I couldn’t help but imagine Wells as Christopher Lee at times!

This was a solid 4.5 stars for me, the only reason I shaved half a star off was due the initial confusion with so many characters, the horror aspect of the book was really good, I felt there could have been a little more suspense surrounding those elements.

Overall the book was fast paced and was full of creepy imagery, gore and dark humor. I LOVED it!

I would definitely recommend you check out The Dark Game in April 2019!!

I can’t wait to read more from Jonathan Janz!

  • Hardcover: 352 Pages
  • Publisher: Flame Tree Press
  • ISBN-10: 178758187X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1787581876
  • Price: £20.00/$24.95
  • Pub Date: 11th April 2019

Pre-order your copy here

About The Author

Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything!

Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.

His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel His novel Children of the Dark received a starred review in Booklist and was chosen by their board as one of the Top Ten Horror Books of the Year (August 2015-September 2016). Children of the Dark will soon be translated into German and has been championed by the Library Journal, the School Library Journal, and Cemetery Dance.

In early 2017, his novel Exorcist Falls was released to critical acclaim.

Jonathan’s primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true. You can learn more about Janz on his blog and Twitter

8 thoughts on “The Dark Game by Jonathan Janz – Book Review

  1. I don’t usually read this genre but this sounds like a really good book. Loved your review!


    1. Thank you! It is a great book, you should check it out! If you do I would love to hear what you think 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this review! I was sold as soon as gore, authors and creepy mansion in the woods were mentioned. I’ll definitely be gettting a copy as soon as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You will have to let me know what you think once you have read it! 😀


      1. Definitely! Thanks for recommending it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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