Author’s Note: Into Hell, my third novel, is an uncomplicated story––the tale of a woman looking for her daughter. It was inspired by the Silent Hill video games, which are straightforward yet terrifying.
Here’s the set up: Stephenie Page and her daughter Carrie are driving down an empty highway. They pull off the road at a gas station that has a restaurant attached to it. Carrie enters the restaurant in need of a bathroom. A moment later, when Stephenie steps inside the building, she discovers that the restaurant has become a slaughterhouse. There are dead bodies everywhere, most of which have been chopped apart with an axe. And the worse part of it is: her daughter Carrie is suddenly missing.
When I was writing this book I wanted to do something different than my first two novels. With my first novel, The Dead Parade, I crafted the story in a classic way. The story’s structure is close to perfect. With my second novel, Terror Town, I decided to add lots of different characters and a handful of plot lines. The story is as complex as can be. But with this one, Into Hell, I wanted to keep everything very straightforward––there’s only one storyline, and one thing to focus on. With every page the situation becomes a little worse, and a little worse, until the blood-soaked climax has been reached.
By doing things this way I think I achieved my goal of having the reader feel like they were the one locked in hell. However, I found out the hard way, some people don’t want to be locked in hell… (I guess I should have seen that coming!)
A lot of people said they LOVED the book, and they couldn’t put it down. But other people wanted more plotlines, which I can understand. Sometimes I’ve wanted to say, “You want more plotlines? Check out Terror Town; it’s loaded with them!”
You ever see the Blair Witch Project? Some people adored that movie––they were right there in the woods with those kids, scared out of their pants. But other people weren’t buying it. In their minds, the film was stupid. And let’s face it––if you’re not there, IN THE WOODS, the movie could be considered stupid. The characters are just walking around, doing nothing. How boring is that?
I think, for some people, that’s what happened with Into Hell. Some readers were THERE, in hell, LOVING IT. But others––for whatever reason––weren’t there… and they, consequently, they didn’t like the story.
So, is the book right for you? If you love horror, and you’re going to sit alone, putting yourself in the story, then yes… this book is right for you. But if you plan on reading it while sitting on the bus, getting interrupted every few minutes, then no. Don’t bother. If you approach the book this way you will not be engaged and at some point you’ll say that you didn’t like the story. But I think the tale is a good one. I was very proud when I was finished writing it; I honestly felt that it was the best thing I had ever written. Now, a few snarky reviews have a way of making me question things, but then again, some people have read the book more than once. In the end, what do I know? I’m the author, so my opinion doesn’t count. However, I’m still proud of this one, and I think horror fans should give it a shot.
But make sure you read it alone…
- Books of the Dead Press, April 2011
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