Thank you, Skyhorse Publishing, for providing a copy of Curse of the Reaper for an honest review.

It doesn’t take much to pique my interest this time of year. Weave me a story that mixes in mysterious, thrilling and terrifying tones while also promises to be equally fun with Hollywood-level storytelling, and you pretty much have all of my attention. So, when Brian McAuley’s debut novel Curse of the Reaper was presented to me, I jumped on it. I didn’t make it past “a must for fans of the slashes genre” before adding it to my TBR. McAuley is known for his work on family sitcoms and horror films, but does his talent translate to novels? I sure think so.

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Curse of the Reaper follows Howard Browning, who in the 80s played the titular killer of the horror franchise Night of the Reaper. Now he spends his time heading from genre convention to genre convention, signing autographs for his dwindling fanbase. But things start to look up when Hollywood decides that the series needs a reboot. However, the studio isn’t looking to cast Browning in the iconic role, instead choosing to go for the much younger and heartthrob Trevor Mane, a former child-star fresh out of rehab.

While Browning refuses to give up his chance at continuing his legacy, Mane is fighting to stay sober and revamp his image. But it soon becomes clear that not everything is as it seems. The more intense the fighting for power, the more Browning’s sinister alter ego consumes his unraveling mind. Is this a case of method acting going too far, or has the devilish Reaper taken on a life of its own? Curse of the Reaper is packed with twists and turns that will have you questioning your entire understanding of one’s mind.

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Now, this thought process might not make sense to some people, but one of the main reasons I loved Curse of the Reaper was how simplistic and scary, yet not frightening, it is. The actual story read like a hot knife through butter. I never felt like I had to go back and reread sections or take time to really understand what was going on. And in horror/thriller novels, that is something I enjoy. Being able to get sucked into a story to a level of immersion that makes me forget what is happening in the real world is a real treat.

Now, the scary aspect is another thing. I have always been a fan of scary stories that draw out horror. We often see this in psychological/supernatural horrors where what is going on isn’t front and center. I watched throughout Curse of the Reaper as things slowly shifted, and the scarier elements came to the surface, and all I could do was wait and watch for the proverbial shoe to drop. Mix that in with how human the characters feel, and it was so easy to find myself sitting among them.

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So, in honor of fall and spooky season kicking off, I highly suggest adding Curse of the Reaper to your reading list. The way it tackles horror and Hollywood would make any slasher fan happy. Plus, it just reads so freaking well. The book hits shelves on October 4, 2022, so preorder it today.


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