Welcome to my stop on the Random Things Tour for the Darkest Lullaby by Jonathan Janz. Many thanks to Anne @ Random Things Tours and Flame Tree Press for inviting me to take part and for providing me with an ARC in return for my review.
Be sure to check out the other fabulous Bloggers on the Tour!
About The Book
The old house waited. For years there had been rumors that the owner, Lilith Martin, had been part of an unholy cult. People spoke of blasphemous rituals, black rites filled with blood, sex…and sacrifices. Then Lilith died and the house sat empty. Until now.
Lilith’s nephew, Chris, and his wife, Ellie, are moving in. Ellie isn’t happy about living in such a dark, foreboding place, but she wants to get pregnant and this house has a lot more room to raise a baby than their apartment. Unfortunately, she and Chris will soon learn that Lilith has other plans.
Dark Reads Review
I’ve come to the conclusion that you are always in for a treat with a Jonathan Janz book, I invariably look forward to getting stuck into one of his Novels, The Darkest Lullaby was no exception to the rule.
The setting is perfect for a Demonic Cult tale, Chris and Ellie have inherited his late Aunt Lilith’s estate, the house is old and is surrounded by forestland. As always Janz’s imagery was excellent, from the run-down house, the stream, bridge and clearings to the creepy woods that envelope Chris and Ellie. I felt like I was there and know what the house and land look like in my mind even after finishing the book.
Just to point out there was a brilliant paragraph at the end of one of the ‘happier’ earlier chapters where you think yep, these two are cute and it might all be ok, then JJ swoops in and dashes all of that in an instant. I love that little Kingism Mr Janz!
‘’She’d look back on that night and remember the feel of her Husband’s arms around her, the sound of his voice in the gloom. Their lovemaking. She would remember these things and hold them close to her like talismans against the onslaught of darkness. But they would prove useless. In the end, everything did’’
I liked the way that although this was a ‘haunted house’ type story you really felt that the house and woods themselves were evil, not just land that was used by a demonic cult and still haunted by an evil presence. Looking at some of my notes I wrote ‘the Shining and Amityville Horror feels’ meaning the property itself was slowly sending the protagonist (Chris) into a descent of madness/evil and slowly turning him into a stranger. A few pages later Janz made a lovely nod to the shining;
‘’Ellie’s own husband who was turning into Jack Nicholson in The Shining for chrissakes. It wouldn’t surprise her if she picked up a page from his manuscript and read ‘All work and no play makes Chris a dull boy’’
Chris and Ellie were both well rounded characters, there was a fair amount of back story for depth of character. If only they would have spoken to each other! Neither one trusted the other, I wanted to shake some sense into both of them on several occasions! Saying that they were both well written, especially Ellie, the sheer helplessness and fear portrayed by her character was palpable.
Lilith, the antagonist was a creepy figure indeed, she filled me with a real sense of dread, that scene when Ellie is sorting through her belongings and video tapes *Shudder*
I would have loved some more back story on Lilith and the house, she was a huge part of the story but I felt I didn’t really know much about her.
The darkest Lullaby was full of graphic unsettling scenes which will creep under your skin and stay with you. Did I mention the sex? There’s lots of it, but it’s a story of malevolent spirits, sacrifice, vampirism and cults after all, there is going to be sex right?! Approach with caution if you blush easily.
As I said before, you are onto a winner with a Jonathan Janz book if you are a fan of Horror, I suggest you pick a copy up!
About The Author
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard, which explains everything. Brian Keene named his debut novel The Sorrows “the best horror novel of 2012.” The LibraryJournal deemed his follow-up, House of Skin, “reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.”
Since then Jonathan’s work has been lauded by writers like Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Tim Waggoner, Bryan Smith,and Ronald Kelly. Novels like The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, Savage Species,and Dust Devils prompted Thunderstorm Books to sign Jonathan to an eleven-book deal and to give him his own imprint, Jonathan Janz’s Shadow Side.
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 (August2015-September2016). 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 Website and follow him on Twitter.