I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Edward Lorn on June 8, 2014
Genres: Horror, Suspense
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is an omnibus edition of Cruelty: Episodes One-Five. If you have already purchased these separately, you will find nothing new here.
On a lonely stretch of deserted Texas highway, Will Longmire breaks down. But he’s not alone.
In the dead of night, Innis Blake hits someone, or something, with her car. The figure shouldn't be getting up. But it is.
An unstoppable force is after Will and Innis. And before the night is over, both strangers will know the face of Cruelty.
Forgiveness is only a few miles down the road, but safety is nowhere in sight.
This is only the beginning...
My Initial Reaction…
Cruelty was my first true horror read and it was creepy as hell! I probably shouldn’t have read it almost exclusively at night, but it freaked me out and I will never look at baby dolls the same ever again.
Since this is a serial – I’ll give a quick review for each episode as opposed to a review of the work as a whole. I found reviewing episodes challenging, so this is more my feelings about what’s happening than any details about what actually happens in the episodes themselves.
Episode One: 5 Stars
Episode One of Cruelty immediately grabbed my attention. We start off in a precarious position for the MC – Will Longmire. His car broke down as he was driving a strung-out hooker, who’s STILL holding him at gunpoint. Oh, and for a kicker, he’s deaf, so he can’t even understand what she’s muttering about. And it’s while they’re walking down the side of the highway, in the middle of the night, that things go from bad to worse…
And then you’ve got Innis, leaving behind her cheating ex-boyfriend, and taking their dog Merlo with her. She hits something and it gets up when it shouldn’t be able too…
I read this in like 45 minutes and couldn’t put it down. The characters are surprising well developed for how short the story is. The action keeps coming and the suspense was killer. It did end on a cliff-hanger, so I’m very happy that I had Episode Two handy!
Episode Two: 4.5 Stars
From the get go we start seeing how this epsiode is going to bring in more characters and weave together people from the first episode into an ever more complicated web. I was surprised how many more characters were introduced into the story, but they were complete and interesting from the get go.
I thought the horror was pretty great in Episode One, but it escalated big time in Episode Two. I found myself wincing and trying to figure out how to close my eyes like I normally would in a horror film and still read. LOL Maybe I need these on audio? No, that might give me nightmares. Let’s just say that things are getting intense for poor Innis, yeah?
I’m trying to avoid spoilers, so I’ll just say that a really messy web is forming and by the end of this episode I was really excited about the way things are going to have to collide. And I’m also a bit terrified. We end with a bit from Merlo – Innis’s dog (I was so happy to discover he was okay!) – and I’m very curious how much we’re going to get from him.
Episode Three: 5 Stars
I really appreciated the way this episode took us back a bit and gave us some background on the characters. I hadn’t realized I was missing some details, but now that I have the blanks filled in, things are getting a bit clearer.
This Episode felt a bit more crime/suspense like since we’re seeing the investigation the police began in the last episode progress. We’re getting to know still more characters and I have to say I’m really impressed that in such a short space Lorn is developing complex enough characters for me to like/hate and care about what happens to them.
And yet, it was still MOST DEFINITELY Horror!! Holy shit, the things that are happening to Innis. This is the stuff of true horror. Yeah, I was really trying to read with my eyes closed here. *Shudder*
Episode Four: 4 Stars
I liked the continued emphasis on the investigation and time with Sherrif Randy. Especially when Merlo shows back up. I love this little dog and the time spent in his point of view is well done. I’m super anxious for his welfare and seriously hope he survives to the end, even if everyone else dies.
I’m back at four stars because I was a bit bored with the Momma (mother of the drug dealer) plotline in this episode. I think she’s supposed to be creepy, but IDK, she didn’t do it for me.
But where she failed to creep me out, Forgiveness took over and then some. Geez! Cruelty already freaked me out (especially with the gruesome things he does) but he doesn’t have anything on Regret. Forgiveness gives me the chills and makes my stomach drop.
Episode Five: 4 stars
Forgiveness owns this episode. Seriously, his appearances left me with the chills and uncovered all kinds of details about the characters I thought I already knew. Though I think they should be running a hell of a lot faster…
Not that Cruelty and Revenge aren’t doing their own damage. Poor Innis. More reading with eyes closed… But I have to say, I got a bit confused in this episode about Revenge and Innis. I’m not sure I understand what’s going on here.
There’s some more time with Momma and uh, I take it back – she’s definitely creepy! I just didn’t get it before. And poor Will – I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through all this without being able to hear.
This ended on a massive cliff hanger for me and I’m really dying to know what will happen next!
Hopefully those quick reviews made some sense – the point is: Cruelty freaked me out on numerous occasions. There’s lots of action, suspense, and shudder-ific moments. Each Episode contains a pretty solid story of its own, while connecting really well to the other episodes. I don’t think it will be hard to pick up Episode Six when it comes out – Lorn does a good job weaving in reminders as you go, without feeling like he’s rehashing the whole story. I’m surprised how much I care for the characters, too. There’s a lot of them and yet I know them well and either hate/love them all. There’s lots of language and vivid descriptions, but what else do you expect from a horror, right? A big thanks to Carol @ I’m A Voracious Reader for the recommendation. Thanks Carol, I had many sleepless nights 😉