Source: Tor – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Edition: Paperback, 400 Pages
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
In the dead spots, dreams become reality, terror knows your name, and nightmares can kill you.
The stillbirth of Mackenzie’s son destroyed her marriage. Grieving, Mac reluctantly heads for her childhood home to seek refuge with her mother, who constantly reminds her of life’s dangers.
Driving across Texas, Mac swerves to avoid hitting a deer…and winds up in a dead spot, a frightening place that lies between the worlds of the living and the dead. If they can control their imaginations, people can literally bring their dreams to life—but most are beseiged by fears and nightmares which pursue them relentlessly.
Mackenzie’s mother and husband haunt her, driving her to the brink of madness. Then she hears a child call for help and her maternal instincts kick into overdrive. Grant, Mac’s ally in the dead spots, insists Johnny is a phantom, but the boy seems so real, so alive….
As the true horrors of the dead spots are slowly revealed, Mackenzie realizes that time is running out. But exits from the dead spots are nearly impossible to find, and defended by things almost beyond imagination
Rhiannon Frater once again gives us a horror novel with human depth and relatability. I think one of my main complaints about the horror novels I’ve read in the past is that most of the time the characters are pawns, they never grow as people and in the end I never really felt a true connection to them. So far everything I’ve read by Frater has given me characters with whom I can relate to on some level, and who I want to see triumph over their fears and obsticles.
Dead Spots takes on a new spin for living your fears. After a incredibly tough time where she loses her baby and finds herself divorced, Mackenzie stumbles into an abandoned cafe after nearly having a car accident. The cafe is a Dead Spot, a place where life once thrived and is now empty and seeking to reclaim that life. The world the Dead Spot leads to is one of pure nightmares, though there are a few places where dreams reign and peace can be had. If you fear it then you can expect to see it while you’re traveling in this alternate world. And while it does go over those rather silly fears we all have like monsters or bugs, it also touches on fears that are more grounded in reality like losing your family. I loved the whole idea of this world and I can only imagine the sort of things I would see…actually I can imagine it quite well. o_o
While Mackenzie had her moments of unlikability, like her stubbornness and over all skepticism which did make complete sense given the situation, I actually found myself loving and rooting for her. The fact that she deals with anxiety was the thing that connected me to her the most, because I know how that feels. In some ways that dead spot world is the way my mind feels on a very bad day, and I really appreciated Fraters inclusion of it in the story. I also enjoyed seeing her find herself again. She struggles with self-doubt and self-blame in extreme amounts, and seeing her gain her strength and determination again over the course of the novel was fantastic. There are so many amazing side characters in this as well, though some are more on the creepy side than others.
Overall I think this is a strong addition to Frater’s already fantastic bibliography. While it might not be my favorite of hers, I still enjoyed it immensely. I recommend this to horror fans who enjoy atmospheric and moody reads.