By Tim Meyer
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Available December 2020
*This review was originally written in early 2020 when the book was first released by Poltergeist Press. It has since been removed from publication there altogether and found a new home with Silver Shamrock Publishing. All I’ve done is update the format of this review and done light edits. Its primary section remains the same as before, because there have been no changes to the novel that I’m aware of at this time.*
After 69 made my Top 10 of 2019, I was ecstatic for an ARC of Meyer’s latest work, Dead Daughters. And although I didn’t love it as much as I did 69, I still find this one to be a worthy recommendation.
Our lead, Drew, is an ex-addict-turned-fitness-instructor, thanks to his supportive and amazing wife. Together, they have an adorable, little girl who has just had herself a birthday. All is great, it seems. But alas, there is so much unwinding around them. After receiving some unwanted mail – a photograph of a dead child that looks hauntingly similar to their own daughter – Drew’s world is turned into a nightmare of “who are you” and “what are you doing here” kind of scenarios.
The ride is sufficiently suspenseful and thrilling throughout, but I think the first half or so of Dead Daughters held me better than the rest; the reason being I figured out the twist pretty early on and – despite my desire to be proven wrong, that there was more to it than I was guessing – the twist came about as I expected, with little deviation. Now, don’t get me wrong – I liked the twist, for the most part. I just felt like there should have been more, something else to push me over the edge (like another layer). Even the final page was something I’d seen coming, so I did feel a little disappointment in the end.
Despite a weak third act (by comparison, I mean), Dead Daughters struck a nerve with me more than once. Being a father of my own little girl, I couldn’t help but feel my own intense fear during sequences of this book. Meyer is a great writer with a fun imagination, and Dead Daughters proves that once again. Even if this one eventually spirals into B-horror-movie territory (in my opinion), the majority of it is scary and all-too-realistic at times. Even the twist is almost plausible in some ways (though, still very sci-fi). However the finale hits you, chances are you will still walk away from this one highly satisfied. And seeing as Meyer has left it open for a sequel (or prequel), we might be lucky enough to get more of Drew in the future. Fingers crossed!
Highlights: Nightmarish for parents … an ending that could suggest a prequel or sequel to follow … strong dramatic flare throughout
Shadows: The twist could have used another layer of reveal … the ending was expected … the finale felt a little more wild than what was expected of the story
FFO: Thrillers and suspense … twists and turns that get horrific
Takeaway: Dead Daughters is a gripping novel of suspense with an ending that is almost as crazed as some of its cast members.
Would I read this author again? Yes
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