30 Days of Horror #1: The Last Days of Jack Sparks #30daysofhorror

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Join me for 3o Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

I thought I would kick off proceedings with my favourite horror read from 2016, the brilliant The Last Days of Jack Sparks. It was such a fun, fast-paced read and so perfectly darkly comic.

jacksparks

Paperback, 336 pages

Published March 3rd 2016 by Orbit

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.

Goodreads // Review // Guest Post by Jason Arnopp

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Up Next on Horror Oct:

Flash Fiction Battle: Vote for your favourite horror story prompt

 

 

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp #BookReview #Horror

jacksparks

Title: The Last Days of Jack Sparks
Author: Jason Arnopp
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 336 pages
Publication Details: July 28th 2016 by Orbit (first published March 3rd)
Genre(s): Horror; Supernatural
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days.

In 2014, Jack Sparks – the controversial pop culture journalist – died in mysterious circumstances.

To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors, he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone.

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy.

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account.

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack’s final hours.
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Review

The Last Days of Jack Sparks is a book of many things. It’s part horror, part mystery, part thriller, and it’s hilarious in a deliciously, dark manner. 

Jack Sparks is a famous (or perhaps more infamous than anything) journalist. His ego is as huge as his reputation and he’s the perfect anti-hero.

Jack has a lot of crazed followers but even more haters. When he announces on Twitter that his new book will be ‘Jack Sparks on the Supernatural’, the reaction goes viral. His fellow atheists and believers in science are outraged…because what does a devout atheist have to say about something so ridiculous? And the believers out there are outraged because who is he to investigate something he can’t even let himself believe. 

Of course, being an egotistical glory-hunter and fame-seeker, this only spurs Jack on. His first big mistake is attending an exorcism in the middle of which he breaks into laughter. Then a mysterious video appears on his own YouTube channel which he has no idea how it got there. The video is hella eerie and appears to show a genuine, very pissed off ghost. This time Jack can’t ignore it, but investigating it will be his ultimate downfall.

I absolutely loved this book. Jack reminded me a lot of Mystery Man from Colin Bateman’s novels of the same name. He is a lovable rogue. He is completely hopeless but you can’t help but root for him. It made me laugh how he rationalised everything he saw. No matter how bad the ghost/poltergeist/possession -whatever you want to call it- got, he always had an answer. But deep down, Jack Sparks knows differently. 

I’m loathed to give more of the plot away as I don’t want to ruin it, but believe me when I say that Jack Sparks… is about a lot more than an atheist exposing supernatural phenomenon.

For the most part, I found this book riveting. It made me LOL in one breath and recoil from creepiness in the next. I also adored the relationship between Jack and his room-mate Bex, and finally realising how unreliable Jack is as a narrator. 

Most of all, I think the way this story was written is genius. The majority of it is made up of Jack’s manuscript which he was typing as he went, up to moments before he died. It even includes notes to his editor which are also hilarious. He’s such a dick! 😉

The rest, which is where we can compare ‘truths’ is made up of Jack’s brother’s commentary, email exchanges and Jack’s confession at the end. This style had the potential to go so wrong, and I’ve hated the use of emails and texts in books before, but here I thought it extremely clever.

I originally rated this as 4/5, but in writing this review I can’t think of one negative thing to say about it. So have ALL THE UNICORNS, JACK SPARKS. 

unicorn rating

Top Ten Tuesday: All the LOLZ #FunnyFiction #TTT

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is…Top Ten Books to Make you Laugh

  • A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon: I found this book really funny as well as bittersweet and slightly heartbreaking. George was darkly hilarious without meaning to be.

“George Hall doesn’t understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. ‘The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.”

 

  • Mystery Man & Dan Starkey by Colin Bateman: I feel like I’ve  talked about Bateman’s books too much on this blog since I started it,  but it’s impossible not to include both of his hilarious series on this list. They are black humour at its best. I did a whole feature on it here. And, Dan Starkey is a feckless journalist who finds himself in ridiculously stupid yet very sticky situations, constantly! [Review]

“Serial Killer Week got off to an inauspicious start when the opening wine and bean evening was invaded by a former prisoner who misinterpreted the poster, but he was at least able to give us the professional’s view of the genre.”

  • The Gates by John Connolly: Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell are a hilarious duo in John Connolly’s book about demon neighbours, portals, and the Large Hadron Collider. 
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy: A sarcastic skeleton detective and a girl who kicks ass…what more could you want? 
  • Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins: Pitched as ‘Legally Blonde meets The Terminator’, this book was full of genuine laughs and also laughs from the ridiculousness of it. In a good way. It was a lot of fun. [Review]
  • The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell: I absolutely loved this book. I don’t think it was supposed to be a comedy so to speak but protagonist Samantha Whipple really made me laugh. [Review] 
  • Horns by Joe Hill: I’m not really sure why I found this book funny, but I did. It was pretty dark and twisted but the protagonist’s reaction to what was happening to him was amusing. [Review] 
  • The Martian by Andy Weir: Mark Watney provides some much needed humour in this book about one man stranded on Mars. [Review] 

    “If I could have anything, it would be a radio to ask NASA the safe path down the Ramp. Well, if I could have anything, it would be for the green-skinned yet beautiful Queen of Mars to rescue me so she can learn more about this Earth thing called ‘lovemaking’.” 

  • I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak: It’s been a long time since I read this one so I can’t remember it in great detail, but I do remember that I loved Ed Kennedy’s self-deprecating sense of humour in it and that it made me laugh.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books which feature characters who…crack me up!

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.) I decided to go for my favourite funny characters. The ones that make you do a LOL when reading in public places.

Book titles link to the Goodreads page

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Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy: “Magic, monsters, crime fighting, a sarcastic skeleton detective and a girl who kicks ass…what more could you want?”

Mystery Man & Dan Starkey by Colin Bateman: Black humour at its best. Mystery Man is like Bernard Black from Black Books, trying to solve crimes. So good! I did a whole feature on it here. And, Dan Starkey is a feckless journalist who finds himself in ridiculously stupid yet very sticky situations, constantly!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness: Manchee the dog provides a lot of laughs and also tears in this book. I’ve never known a literary dog to have so much impact! Genius. [Review]

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zuzak: I loved Ed Kennedy’s self-deprecating sense of humour in this book. It’s such an underrated book overall in my opinion.

The Gates by John Connolly: Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell are a hilarious duo in John Connolly’s book about demon neighbours, portals, and the Large Hadron Collider.

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A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon: I found this book really funny as well as bittersweet and slightly heartbreaking.

George Hall doesn’t understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. ‘The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.’

I loved George so much, and he was darkly hilarious without meaning to be.

The Martian by Andy Weir: Mark Watney provides some much needed humour in this book about one man stranded on Mars. [Review]

The Ruby Redfort books by Lauren Child: I loved Ruby’s ‘sarky, feisty wit’ in these action-packed spy books. [Review]

The Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley: “Flavia is witty, tenacious and doggedly independent with a fiery, yet caring spirit,” making these classic mystery books a breath of fresh air. [Review]