[490]: The Damned by Andrew Pyper

DSC_0980GOODREADS SUMMARY | Simon & Schuster Canada | ARC, 287 pp. | February 10, 2015 | Adult Fiction | Horror | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Andrew Pyper’s latest tells the story of a Detroit-native best selling writer who knows a thing or two about dying. Having survived multiple close calls gives him the perspective of what being dead – even for a few minutes – felt like. In this novel, Andrew explores the afterlife, unfinished business and the limitations (or lack thereof) of twin intuition.

Death Becomes Him.

From the moment of birth, Danny and his twin sister Ashley were already familiar with death. When they were born, only one of them came out the womb breathing. You can say that their mother made a bargain with any one listening to save her children. It just so happens that the bargain came with a hefty price. From then on, Ashley has been a different creature altogether.

She seems to have something evil lurking inside her. Her powers of manipulation knows no bounds. She can will anyone to do her bidding; even persuade someone to hurt themselves to the point of suicide. When they were teens, Ashley and Danny died in a house fire. While Ashley stayed dead, Danny, somehow came back wearing their dead mother’s watch; a watch that was buried with her when she died. Everyone’s theory was that Danny was saved by his mother in the afterlife.

His memoir has garnered some nationwide attention. The story of how he almost perished along with his sister in a fire many years ago gave him the morbid reputation of being somewhat of an expert. And while he’s determined to forget about the past, and move on to the land of the living, his dead twin sister refused to let things go.

From the Grave and Beyond.

When Ashley was alive, Danny didn’t have much of a life to speak of. He lived in his sister’s effervescent shadow. But they know something was wrong with her. She’s feared, especially at her own home. Their mom drank herself to oblivion, and ended up drowning in an apparent suicide. Their dad worked all hours just to avoid being at home. When she died, it was almost a huge relief for both Danny and his father. Because then, they’ll be able to live without the every day fear of being around Ashley.

Years go by, Danny couldn’t hack college. He had no social life. Relationships are non-existent. That is, until he meets Willa and her son, Eddie. Now that he’s happy, however, Ashley couldn’t let him have his peace. She starts haunting his little family.  But if there’s one thing Danny understands about restless ghosts, it’s that they have some unfinished business that’s anchoring them to this world. If he ever has any hopes of achieving a peaceful life, he needs to find out what Ashley wants even if he had to die over and over again.

 With One Eye Open.

Sorry for the over long summary. It was the only way I could explain why this book was terrifyingly good. I mean, what’s scarier than a ghost? Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe a psychotic ghost? Ashley was that and more.

I’m the type of person who needs to watch a horror flick in broad daylight. The first time I watched Paranormal Activity, it was one sunny summer afternoon. Even then, I ended up hollering for my husband to turn the tv off. And I ended up sleeping with the lights on for at least a few days.

This book was a freaking nightmare. Sometimes, I had to calm my racing pulse before I could continue reading. It is why it took me a while to finish this less than 300-page novel. If I could read with one-eye open I would. But we all know that’s impossible. There is nothing worst than a violent ghost. And Ashley is the absolute worst.

If you can stomach reading with raised gooseflesh, The Damned is highly recommended. Dark family secrets, sinister vengeful ghost, and a glimpse of the different kinds of hell that await the dearly departed. This spine-tingling book is terrifyingly good!

  • I just started reading this yesterday, and so far I’m loving it! Although I have to say it’s a bit confusing in the beginning, probably because he hasn’t explained all the mysteries yet. Can’t wait to finish it!

  • I’m a big horror movie fan with a huge collection of scary movies, but I rarely read horror stories. Don’t know why, well, probably because I get my fix while watching movies, so I don’t feel the need to read after, but your review makes me wanna read this.

    You watch horror movies with lights on! Blasphemy! where’s the pleasure in that? ;D

    • Oh my. You should read Night Film by Marisha Pessl. No ghosts, no monsters, no serial killers. Just a very intelligent horror book that doesn’t give too many clues away. You’ll love it!

  • Ok that sounds very creepy 0_0

  • Oooh… Love those ones that get the heart pumping! Sounds like a fantastic read!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  • hahaha before I started reading your review I saw that this was horror and I immediately thought “No.” I am the world’s biggest scaredy cat and I don’t do horror in any form of entertainment. But then I started reading your review and I was like “this sounds cool, maybe I can do this!” and then I saw that it terrified you and I returned to my resounding “No.” hah. Since I can’t read with one eye open – not that I am sure it would even help – and I need my sleep nightmare-free, I am going to have to pass on this one.

    • Oh come on, you so can do this! Seriously. I thought I couldn’t, too. But after experiencing Night Film by Marisha Pressl – which, did not involve ghosts, monsters, and serial killers, I might add, and terrified me, nonetheless – I knew I would be okay with this!

  • Omg your summary gave me the creeps. I’m not a person that gets nightmares, and horror movies don’t affect me all that much…but when it comes to books – the atmosphere gets my heart pumping and it really has an effect. Paranormal Activity had absolutely no effect on me but just your explanation on this book had me edging away. I want to pick it up but I’m not sure…eep!

    • Not a lot would put themselves through this nightmare, but when you decide to try horror on for size, keep this book in mind. 🙂

  • The gooseflesh ghosts sounds nice

    • Psychotic ones, yes. Don’t know about goose flesh ghosts, though. Lol.

  • Christy

    Oh, hell yes! I need this book. I love watching and reading ‘scary’ books at night in the dark.

  • Next to demon possesions, ghost stories are my real boogeyman. Good lord! I’d rather face a vamp or werewolf than a ghost!

    • Lol! So true. Especially a vengeful, psychotic ghost!

  • I can’t even watch Paranormal Activity in broad daylight! I don’t deal well with ghost stories or demon-based stories, my imagination runs too wild when night rolls around and the house starts making noises! I think this book would likely scar me for life and leave me in the fetal position in a corner, so I’m going to pass 😉

    • I guess I have been braver than I thought I could be. I don’t like horrors either, but surprisingly, this one wasn’t too bad. 🙂

  • Well, I know I’ll be staying away from this one after you mentioned that she was more than a psychotic ghost! I scare so easily, especially with ghost books. I have no problem reading books about grisly murders, which is more realistic than ghost books, but I can’t sleep for days when I read ghost stories. And I live alone so that doesn’t bode too well for me either!
    Great review, Joy!

    • I don’t usually have the stomach for horrors, but reading instead of watching is still my preference. Because if you’re reading the book, at least you have control of what your mind is conjuring, as oppose to when you’re watching something that someone has created. *shudders*

  • Here’s that psychotic ghost thriller you were telling me about! It sounds so creepy and compelling, like you can’t look away but you’re scared to see what happens next! Great synopsis and review, Joy.

    • I hope I did well enough that you’ll try it for yourself, Jeann. 🙂

  • I normally can’t take scary movies either, especially the ones that mess with your head, when I went to see Paranormal Activity, we actually went to watch it late at night, but then had to watch something else before we went to sleep, otherwise we would have been awake all night. This book sounds super creepy, I don’t know if I’d have the guts to read it, maybe in the daytime! Glad you enjoyed this one though Joy!

    • I’ll take reading a horror book over watching one any day. Lol.

  • Ohh! It do sound pretty creepy 😀 And I do like horror things, lol. <3 Amazing review Joy 🙂 I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. I might read it one day. <3 You do make it sound awesome 😉 Thank you for sharing about it. <3

  • Ohmygod, I’ve been dying to read this even though I’m a huge scaredy cat! The only horror movie that I was able to watch from beginning to end because I had no other choice was The Conjuring on a field trip. My bestie’s hand was so swollen because I gripped her too hard, lol!

    I would probably read this in the day time. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle reading this all alone at night, lol!

    Awesome review, Joy! 😀

    • Hahah. I could never watch The Conjuring. I hear Annabel is even more terrifying!

  • I am a huge chicken, seriously, it is bad but once in a while I can’t resist and I have to give in and read (or watch) a good horror. I think I would love this, it sounds terrifying!
    Wonderful review!!

    • Thanks, ali. One of these days, you must try something that terrifies you. 🙂