Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates

Title:  The Sleepwalkers 
Author:  J. Gabriel Gates
Genre:  Adult Horror
Publisher: HCI Publishing
Format/Pages:  Netgalley/329 pages
Publication Date:  October 4, 2011

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine.  Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her.  Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse.  Caleb’s childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared.  Children are going missing.  The old asylum is reopened, and Christine is locked inside.  Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine’s long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an AM radio.

The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass.  Eighteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world.  As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead (Book jacket description).

Gates tells an interesting tale; he takes a normal, down-to-earth teenager on the brink of a new life, and shoves him into a new future affected by his barely remembered past.  The mystery of the story is well-played out, stringing the reader along and keeping them wondering. I did figure out the biggest mystery a couple of chapters before Caleb did, though. <Insert smirk here>  The story is pretty scary at times, with dark tunnels, creepy kids and strange sounds emanating from all around.  I felt my breathing speed up and my pulse race on multiple occasions.  I loved the character of Bean; he was the perfect blend of sarcasm, bravado and honest friendship.  You knew he cared about Caleb, and I loved reading their various interactions throughout the book.   

All in all, this is a good read.  It keeps the reader interested; you want to know what is going to happen to the different characters in the book.  I enjoyed the writing style; rather than follow just one point of view, it shifts from character to character. I thought this kept the story interesting and flowing.

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