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The Revenant: A Horror in Dodsville

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After his parents' sudden death in a freak car accident, eleven-year-old Stephen O'Neil reluctantly leaves behind his hometown and his best friend Reed Price. Now, thirteen years later, he solemnly returns to Dodsville to attend Reed's funeral. He drowned, Stephen soon learns, under suspicious circumstances. With shadowy memories haunting him, Stephen investigates the myst After his parents' sudden death in a freak car accident, eleven-year-old Stephen O'Neil reluctantly leaves behind his hometown and his best friend Reed Price. Now, thirteen years later, he solemnly returns to Dodsville to attend Reed's funeral. He drowned, Stephen soon learns, under suspicious circumstances. With shadowy memories haunting him, Stephen investigates the mystery behind Reed's death. Quickly becoming more anxious about what actually had happened, he joins forces with Reed's sisters, Julie and Tabitha, along with Julie's boyfriend Sly and Reed's ex-girlfriend Melissa. Enter an eccentric, rich divorcee, who claims to have seen a mysterious message concerning Stephen and Reed's childhood club written in the fog of her bathroom mirror. After learning that Stephen is staying in town, she asks him to spend a week in her mansion to investigate. He decides to accept her offer, hoping to exorcise the demons of his own past. At first, Stephen and his friends find themselves enjoying the luxuries of the mansion, just what they needed to jumpstart their lives after Reed's funeral. Their attempt at mindless frivolities, however, quickly turns to horror, as they hear whispers. Doors mysteriously lock behind them, and soon their very lives are in peril. The horror quickly permeates throughout Dodsville. There is a murder; then more and more people mysteriously disappear. Unfortunately, Pierce, a detective who is trying to make a name for himself, suspects Stephen to be behind it all. In order to clear himself, Stephen, along with the aide of his new friends, take matters into their own hands. Their investigation leads them from the mansion, to the cemetery, and finally to a reputed haunted house, where Stephen is lead on a terrifying journey dredged up from the nightmares of his childhood, a journey he had desperately hoped he would never have to make.


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After his parents' sudden death in a freak car accident, eleven-year-old Stephen O'Neil reluctantly leaves behind his hometown and his best friend Reed Price. Now, thirteen years later, he solemnly returns to Dodsville to attend Reed's funeral. He drowned, Stephen soon learns, under suspicious circumstances. With shadowy memories haunting him, Stephen investigates the myst After his parents' sudden death in a freak car accident, eleven-year-old Stephen O'Neil reluctantly leaves behind his hometown and his best friend Reed Price. Now, thirteen years later, he solemnly returns to Dodsville to attend Reed's funeral. He drowned, Stephen soon learns, under suspicious circumstances. With shadowy memories haunting him, Stephen investigates the mystery behind Reed's death. Quickly becoming more anxious about what actually had happened, he joins forces with Reed's sisters, Julie and Tabitha, along with Julie's boyfriend Sly and Reed's ex-girlfriend Melissa. Enter an eccentric, rich divorcee, who claims to have seen a mysterious message concerning Stephen and Reed's childhood club written in the fog of her bathroom mirror. After learning that Stephen is staying in town, she asks him to spend a week in her mansion to investigate. He decides to accept her offer, hoping to exorcise the demons of his own past. At first, Stephen and his friends find themselves enjoying the luxuries of the mansion, just what they needed to jumpstart their lives after Reed's funeral. Their attempt at mindless frivolities, however, quickly turns to horror, as they hear whispers. Doors mysteriously lock behind them, and soon their very lives are in peril. The horror quickly permeates throughout Dodsville. There is a murder; then more and more people mysteriously disappear. Unfortunately, Pierce, a detective who is trying to make a name for himself, suspects Stephen to be behind it all. In order to clear himself, Stephen, along with the aide of his new friends, take matters into their own hands. Their investigation leads them from the mansion, to the cemetery, and finally to a reputed haunted house, where Stephen is lead on a terrifying journey dredged up from the nightmares of his childhood, a journey he had desperately hoped he would never have to make.

30 review for The Revenant: A Horror in Dodsville

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vone Savan

    Seventh grade math. My teacher was Miss Smiley. She was a sweet and helpful teacher—but sadly, she was also atrociously boring. I would enter class, take my seat (which was near the back), and wait for class to start. The moment the bell rang, she would go through the agenda for that day, followed by the dimming of the lights and the monotonous hum of her projector, which would last the entire period. Usually, it didn’t take me very long to doze in and out of sleep, completely uninvested in the Seventh grade math. My teacher was Miss Smiley. She was a sweet and helpful teacher—but sadly, she was also atrociously boring. I would enter class, take my seat (which was near the back), and wait for class to start. The moment the bell rang, she would go through the agenda for that day, followed by the dimming of the lights and the monotonous hum of her projector, which would last the entire period. Usually, it didn’t take me very long to doze in and out of sleep, completely uninvested in the class, waiting for it to be over so I could move on to the next. Reading The Revenant: A Horror in Dodsville by Brian L. Blank was the equivalent of Miss Smiley’s seventh grade math class. After a kickass prologue where two kids went missing, The Revenant jumps to eleven-year-old, Stephen O’Neal, and his best friend, Reed Price. As kids, they were inseparable; so much in fact, that they opened up a make-believe business called Ghost Hunter’s, Inc. where they investigated supposed paranormal locales, which eventually led them to “Wickerman’s” abandoned, but believed to be, haunted house. After sneaking their way in, they found a mirror that ends up being a gateway to another dimension. At one point, the mirror tried to pull Reed inside, but luckily, the both of them were able to escape. Not long after this incident, Stephen’s parents died in a car accident, which forced him to leave Dodsville, Wisconsin. He ended up moving to Milwaukee to live with his grandmother. Over the years, the boys never kept in touch—as we all know, long distance relationships are very hard. Jump to thirteen years later. Stephen, who was now twenty-four and a teacher, was notified that his ex-best friend, Reed, was found dead. He drowned in Brunner’s Pond (a pond he was deftly afraid of) under very suspicious circumstances. To pay his respects, Stephen revisits his old hometown of Dodsville. While there, he rekindles his friendship with Reed’s two sisters (Julie and Tabitha), Sly Williams (Julie’s boyfriend), Melissa Anderson (Reed’s ex-girlfriend) Detective Sherwood Pierce, and all sorts of other random people. He also ends up encountering Randy Beliwitz (Tabitha’s boyfriend) who ends up being a total douche. The guy continuously threatens his life. Eventually, the plot leads us to a Mrs. Klaus. A strange woman who propositions the said people above—minus Randy and Detective Pierce—to investigate her huge, elaborate mansion because she believes that it is suddenly haunted. The rest of this story fans out from there. After the initial prologue and the first few chapters, I had a very difficult time reading the rest of this novel. I wanted to like it, but the novel kept holding its hand in my face and saying: “You will not like me!” Okay, the last part’s a lie, but the rest is true. I pushed, and the book kept pulling—and here are the reasons why: The first reason: This. Book. Was. So. Extremely. Descriptive. And. Also. Immensely. Too. Wordy. Typically, wordy books don’t bother me this much. I know I can get wordy myself. But the amount of unnecessary writing was beyond reason. The book was drenched in verbosity. Almost every sentence—if not every sentence—had an unnecessary description that literally stifled the reading experience. It was like learning to drive a stick shift through the entire novel. For example, take this excerpt: He slammed his right fist down on the desk in a sudden outburst of anger, tipping over a cup of pencils. Two of the pencils rolled off the desk. The rest settled down near the cup. “That, Inspector, is all we know,” he added in an almost, but not quite, shout. He didn’t’ want to upset Pierce to the point he threw them all behind bars, after all. Then he sat back down. Okay, the line: “an almost, but not quite, shout” is a little “too interesting” for my taste. And Mr. Blank does this throughout the entire book. Why didn’t he just say something like: “he almost shouted” or “he loudly spoke.” And what’s up with the pencils? Anyway, my point is that Mr. Blank’s writing style is just too verbose for my reading sensibilities. Maybe if he wrote more dialogue and less descriptions that would have helped remedy this issue. The second reason (and this directly correlates to the first reason): The plot was too convoluted for its own good. I read this on the kindle and it showed 417 pages. Now I ask: Why, Lord? Why? This book could have easily been reduced to half its size—and that would have made the book more enjoyable to read because the novel would have moved at a brisker pace. Again, the extra descriptions and words did not help here. While reading this novel, the words ‘edit’ and ‘Copyeditor’ kept running through my mind. I know that Mr. Brian L. Blank is himself an English teacher (it’s in his Bio) so maybe he didn’t feel like he needed one—which I would disagree. But, if he did in fact use a Copyeditor, and his book still turned out this lengthy, then he should make them re-edit it again. I’m going to condense the rest of my critiques for the sake of saving space and avoiding verbosity myself—assuming it’s not too late. I had issues with the plot branching off into too many directions without any significant payoff. Also, every character in the book was only a caricature of a human. I didn’t develop any empathy or interest in their lives. I just kept visualizing paper dolls walking through a cardboard town. In addition, some of the dialogue was just plain wonky. “Darting tongues” during the love scene, Mr. Blank? Please, no. No darting tongues. Love scenes are supposed to be hot and seductive and sensual. Visualizing a game of darts at a smelly bar or a rusty spear coming at you while I was supposed to be visualizing sex is not sexy. Now, with all of that said, parts of the book I can honestly defend. The book does have some redeeming qualities. The core story had a lot of entertainment value and some of the ideas were really good. I loved the setup of the haunted house. I loved the dimensional mirror concept. I loved the lingering, mysterious deaths. Some of Blank’s foreboding was done well. Also, I really enjoyed the prologue and the epilogue. I just wish the rest of the novel kept up with these two sections. But, the one thing I appreciated most about this reading experience was the author’s intent. Clearly, this novel was Blank’s labor of love. I can tell that he genuinely enjoyed writing this book. His excitement was practically seeping out of every page. And he probably imagined us getting lost in his story the way he honestly did. And for that, no one can fault him. That extra star is for his ambition. I’m a big sucker for moxie. The general feel of The Revenant is very Hardy Boys, Scooby-Doo, Nancy Drew, Lucy Liu. Okay, wait, not Lucy Liu; although, I did like her as Ling in Ally McBeal. Anyway, I went into this book thinking the plot and overall content would be more mature, more sophisticated—and it wasn’t. It came off as juvenile literature; almost like a very long, fun-filled campfire ghost story or something to read at a teenager’s slumber party. I think that’s where Mr. Blank’s head space was when he wrote this book. He channeled his inner child. But for the rest of us who wanted something grittier, the overall story and execution just didn’t work. Lastly, I want to make one thing clear: My goal in this review is not to put Mr. Blank on blast. I think constructive criticism is always a positive thing, and I hope people are able to decipher that. Behind all his excessive writing and my critiques, there’s a great storyteller here. I just feel like some layers need to be peeled off for us to really see that. One last, last thing. On the kindle, at 45%, Mr. Blank wrote: “And watch out for Pierce. He would have an orgasm if he caught you out there.” Orgasm? I wonder if Mr. Blank meant aneurysm because that scene wasn’t sexual in any way. Now I can't stop laughing. I’m sorry. I had to put that in there.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    very good read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Well written and enjoyable but a bit too long and got a bit "out there" towards the end. Will definitely another book by this author. Well written and enjoyable but a bit too long and got a bit "out there" towards the end. Will definitely another book by this author.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    This is a quite a nice surprise for a $2.99 book from Amazon.com. Full of supernatural twists and turns.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mary Donegan

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  7. 5 out of 5

    Crystal B. Johnson

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Rugolo

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael S. Scott

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  12. 4 out of 5

    Yvette

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara Fox

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kari

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  20. 4 out of 5

    Billy

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Hansen

  23. 4 out of 5

    Black Queen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  25. 5 out of 5

    Minerva

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Scottie Bryant

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lil' Wench

  29. 5 out of 5

    julie perry

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather Miles

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