Author: Al Barrera
Date Published: October 20, 2014
Edition: Kindle Edition
Something ancient sleeps in the shadows of Umber Gardens. When Dr. Benjamin Kent is extended an invitation to work at a prestigious mental health facility, he thinks it’s too good to be true. Ben soon realizes something is wrong at the Home. The darkness has eyes, and it’s hungry. The line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and soon Umber Gardens’ dark secrets force Ben to question his family’s safety–and his own sanity.
I've got an ARC via Netgalley. This is probably the longest book I've ever read. No, just kidding. This book is average in length and yet I don't get to finish it in one sitting. I'm reading it continuously though in a 4-day journey. I couldn't say it's a slow drag but it isn't fast-paced either. Either way, I guarantee you it's not a bad book especially for a horror one.
“Morning.” He stepped into the closet to grab his suit. Had to look good on the first day.You never got a second chance to make a first impression. Or as his mother once said, “You never get to screw it up twice.”
The building of the atmosphere was perfect especially the professionalism part. You'd feel how it's like to be a doctor straight from med school about to go to work in a mental facility which happens to be a grand mansion and an old hospital at the same time. The boss is scary and the people at work equally strange. And the only ally you have is the nurse assigned to you.
Darker Shadows Lie Below reminds me of the film Susperia with the building of terror, suspicion that members of the establishment you've just gone to are members of a cult, that even in your first week there's this silent watches behind your back; of the film The Shining with the enveloping darkness, the struggle in distinguishing what's real and what's not; and of Rosemary's Baby.
It seems like the author is really involved in writing the story. There's a feel of authenticity in reading the book, as if Ben and Julie are real people. I like how the approach is realistic in a way that the characters are some people you'd know in real life, that this book is not written simply to spook or written with cheap jump scares. You'd get emotionally connected with the protagonist which what makes this book awesome.
Here you'd feel the struggle of Dr. Benjamin Kent for a better life. Straight from Med School graduating at the top of his class, he was offered a job as a Psychiatrist in a remote facility at the heart of a forest in Tennessee called The Home. With the promise of a salary that is twice of what is normally offered for a fresh grad, Ben was not likely to turn down even if it's 2 states away from home. Ben was raised in a trailer without a dad in middle school and with a mom who committed suicide during college. With the help of the wealthy family of his girlfriend now fiancée with an expected baby, he was able to push through med school. It is high time to prove his worth and that he could provide for his family. To work at a Châteauesque mental facility, what could possibly go wrong?
65% into the story and I was happy that Ben was finally leaving the hospital! I was glad really for the positive possibility but at the same time know that shit is still about to hit the fan later. The author was good in establishing a mood where you'd be happy if that's just where the book would end even abruptly. I love creepy and morbid stories but I just thought that in this part of the book, I'd be satisfied to spare Ben the horrors no matter how prematurely.
Yeah, I know that you'd buy a horror book to witness some horror. But in this part of the journey, I was like,
Can we not see the horror anymore?Even without continuing the story, I think I know just what's going to happen to Ben and his family shall he continue working at The Home. I know what awaits his mortal life at the hands of a cult. Of course, he continued. It's not that I'm really frightened of the book, it's just one of the rare cases where I'm concerned of the welfare of the protagonist especially with a baby along the way. Usually, in a horror book, I anticipate the sheer brutality of the death of the character (like in Stephen King's books). Just not here.
That's what I also expected in this story. You like the horror, you anticipate the worst and yet you want the good things for the characters and then goes the shock value. But whatever happened, I was not disappointed. It's not a perfect horror story like how Stephen King could write a horror novel but I enjoyed it a lot so I'm giving this book a perfect