Plot: Horror fans will delight in Bates’s attention to detail after gory detail in this fourth installment of the World’s Scariest Places series. Readers will be on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Prose: Bates’s prose is clean, detailed, flows well, and keeps readers engaged as he weaves a delightfully macabre story. The unique voice of each character enhances the unfortunate series of events.
Originality: This book is original and intriguing. It will remind readers of the Final Destination film series and American Horror Story on network television.
Character Development: Bates has provided audiences with intricately-detailed chapters solely devoted to the extensive development of his unique and often relatable and misunderstood characters.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2017
"Island of the Dolls adds to the'World's Scariest Places' series with Book Four. Each book's setting is actually a real-world place, and so Isla de las Mune-cas (the Island of the Dolls) is actually a floating garden in Mexico. A legend about a drowned girl and dolls that haunt the premises forms the foundation for a gripping story that is a fine addition to the series, but also stands well on its own, making it an attraction for newcomers.
The tale opens with a little girl's near-drowning and the threat from gruesome dolls that leads her to flee. The compelling opener immediately shifts to the first person as the protagonist awakens from a nightmare and an alcoholic binge from the night before. He's part of an ad hoc TV documentary group that has come to investigate the legend of an area haunted by dolls, but the truth is even more bizarre when they find themselves immersed in murder, mayhem, and a legend that may prove all too real for comfort.
Island of the Dolls excels in creating gripping scenarios and building believable protagonists who move from disbelief and personal angst to terror. It employs many of the devices professional thriller authors use,creating solid characters and making them walk out of their familiar worlds into scenarios that challenge their beliefs and connections to each other, the world, and reality itself, and it provides a satisfying dose of horror wrapped in the compelling events of an investigation that takes many unexpected twists and turns.
This means that the action is vivid, the protagonists convincing, and the winding plot leaves nobody behind as it weaves through a virtual maze of creepy possibilities.
Readers might feel that some of the tension and scenes are a bit drawn out(such as when the protagonists face a dark crawlspace or hole and argue about who should face its dark possibilities), but this serves to neatly heighten tension and just when the build-up seems too much - snap - an unexpected discovery is made which could be either benign or explosively shocking.
Inject more than a small degree of social reflection into events ("Elizaveta recalled life in Saint Petersburg in the early- to mid-nineties. The brutal winters, the jostling for food and other basic supplies, the overcrowded buses, the cynicism and aggression, the robberies and racketeering, the misfortune and disdain etched on everyone‟s faces. Despite all this, her compatriots certainly had more than Solano--yet were their lives any better than his? Were they more fulfilled?") for a powerful saga that reaches out, grips strongly, and proves hard to put down.
Thriller fans and readers of Stephen King, Joe Lansdale, and other masters of the art will find much to love in this highly recommended, action-packed read."
"Jack, Pita, Jesus, Eliza, Nitro and Pepper are on their way to Isla de Las Munecas, a reportedly haunted island in the middle of an ancient Aztec canal system. Pepper is there to make a documentary. The rest are therefor fun and a break.
This is not going to be anyone's idea of fun. Especially when an unknown killer is on the loose and hell bent on making sure no one leaves.
So what are the main things that scare people? Monsters, vampires,werewolves, aliens, clowns and oh yes.....dolls. I have to admit to being a scaredy cat when it comes to dolls. No idea why but they do the business on me. Isla de la Munecas is a real place. Look it up. When you see some of the pictures, they will scare you. They are just plain weird. And scary.
Then read this book. It will give you the major creeps. It's one of those that will make your skin crawl.
Characters wise in this one, we have a group of very strong individuals who are all strong in their own rite for their own reasons. When you put them all together, they make up one of those groups that sometimes you think, how the hell did these people become friends. As the story progresses,they all must band together to survive their ordeal. To be honest though, they don't really do that, which is one of the twists that makes this interesting.
The plot has been done many times before. A group of people stranded on a supposedly haunted island with no chance of rescue and they must survive the night until they can be picked up the next morning. All sounds familiar doesn't it? Well it is in some ways. But what Jeremy Bates has done with this one is introduce a series of twists in the plot that will have you wondering which direction it is going to go in next.
The writing in this one is simple. When I say simple I mean it'snot over complicated with a big elaborate back story with a lot of complicated history to the legend. It flips between the modern day story and a harrowing tale of the young girl in question set in the 50's. The older scenes are fantastic and are what really make this book for me. They give you a very imaginative, and very emotional, look at what life was like in those times for people with certain disabilities. Its harrowing and, quite frankly,embarrassing at times.
As the story progresses, it will become very clear to you that although taking on the familiar slasher theme, this is anything but. There area few fantastic twists in the story that will make you sit up in your seat.They will make you wonder what the hell is going on and they will give you goose bumps and make you shout "DON'T GO OUTSIDE!".
The one constant in this is the extremely creepy and atmospheric backdrop of the island and its thousands of dolls. When you read these scenes,let your mind wander, soak up the sights and smells and sometimes sounds. Don'tread it on your Kindle in a dark room. You will find yourself checking under the bed."
Suicide Forest (Book 1):
2015 Goodreads "Choice Awards" Finalist
2015 Foreword Reviews "Book of the Year" Finalist
The Catacombs (Book 2):
2016 Australian Horror Writers Association "Shadows Award" Winner
2016: IPPY Bronze Medal Winner