Time for another buddy read with #cjsreads (if you don’t know what I mean, you can check out my original post here!). Chandra, Jessica and I stumbled across a book that I have been singing the praises of over the past few days. A book that totally creeped me out and had my skin crawling.
Yup. I’m talking about Doll House by John Hunt.
Keep reading below for a synopsis of the book and our thoughts.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Olivia is excited about university. She will be on her own, in a new place hopeful to meet new friends.
On the night she moves in, she is taken off the street by two masked men. She is placed in a room which is little more than a cell. A pink cell. A room made for a doll. She is now part of their collection.
WHAT CHANDRA THOUGHT
Olivia embarks on her first year of college but before she can even get settled into her dorm room or attend her first class, she’s abducted and terrorized in a tiny pink room… just another doll to be played with by her abusive captors. Harry, her father, drowns himself in alcohol to cope with his daughter’s disappearance until he answers the phone one day, five years later, and hears, “Daddy?”. But this isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning of a continued nightmare where every shadow, every knock on the door, every tap on the window, could be someone coming for her. You never truly get away after going through what Olivia endured.
This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s deliciously dark and gruesome. Extremely fast paced, yet somehow you feel every part of the girls’ pain. I don’t mind explicit gore in a book and this walks a fine line – just enough to make you squeamish without ever going too far (at least for me, but I don’t mind squeamish). Moving from action to suspense to action again, your heart races throughout. What’s even scarier is there are no supernatural monsters, ghosts or demons – just a plausible scenario which will have you paying more attention to your surroundings. 5 full creepy screaming stars for this quick read and because I haven’t been this creeped out in a while…
Oh my god. This book was incredibly creepy and I loved every second of it. This twisted tale gets going right away and doesn’t stop.
Disclaimer: This book includes some very difficult topics that aren’t for everyone. Rape, torture, lots of violence, and even acts of cannibalism. So I recommend against this book if you are squeamish/not a fan of these topics.
We start with Olivia leaving for college and moving into her dorm. She doesn’t even get to spend a night there when she’s abducted off the sidewalk on her college campus. She wakes up in a tiny pink room, almost as if made for a doll, and she faces her abductors daily. She knows them by their masks: Gorilla and Jackal. She is used for their pleasure and brutally punished when she resists (losing body parts, torture, etc).
Fast forward five years later and Olivia manages to break free and kill one of her abductors. When she goes to escape she finds more rooms like hers with two other girls inside. She and the two manage to escape. But now they must deal with the after-effects of such trauma, and Olivia knows there is still one of them out there. He is obsessed with her and will do anything to get Olivia back.
This book is told from different perspectives. From Olivia’s, her father’s, both of her abductors, and one of the girls that she saved. This is a very fast-paced and quick read. Incredibly creepy and demented, but I loved it all. It just hits you and doesn’t stop!
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Doll House by John Hunt was one of the creepiest books that I have read in a long time; it takes quite a bit for me to be truly frightened, but this one had my skin crawling. I was glued to my seat. I was compelled to keep reading. I could have read this one easily in one sitting, but I had to take a break when it became too dark.
I had to read this one during the daytime.
The novel opens and immediately jumps into the action; Olivia is abducted and her descent into hell begins. Explicitly written, but not overdone, Hunt relies on the reality of a psychopathic mind instead of ostentatious shows of violence. In fact, the scariest part of this novel was the fact that it felt so real. There was no paranormal element, nothing supernatural, just the pure, raw and macabre horrors of human nature.
This one reminded me a lot of Riley Sager’s Final Girls the book that I have predicted will be a book everyone is talking about this summer.
From the pace to plot and a kick-ass female protagonist, I found not much to fault in Doll House. This novel is out now, so if you want a “scare your pants off” type horror thriller, then look no further.
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