As you might know, I love a good horror novel. I came across a novel called Small Things by Joe DeRouen. I instantly fell in love with this heart-felt and gory book. You should definitely pick it up if need a new book to read. Below is my recent review of DeRouen’s novel.
Small Things by Joe DeRouen starts with the tragic death of a teenaged boy named Tanner. The first chapter, which begins with the sorrow of the funeral, ends with the poignant words “…back into the world of the living.” From that line on, I was completely captivated and mesmerized by DeRouen’s heartfelt novel. It’s hard to place Small Things into one category. There are definitely horror and thriller elements. However, by the end, it was also equal parts a dark fantasy adventure.
The story is fast-paced with lots of shocking twists. There is both grisly gore, but also really tender and sweet moments. The title itself was very interesting. From small things bigger, world-changing things can come. The novel starts off as the intimate story of a small town dealing with a sudden tragedy and then develops into much bigger world events, which cross times and realms.
Small Things is a deeply personal and psychological tale. I loved how it was written through the eyes of different characters. I really felt like I was inside their heads, including even the disturbing urges of the monster as it stalked its victims.
My favorite characters, of course, were the two teenagers Shawn and Jenny. Their budding romance was equally gripping and adorable. It was a cute, old-fashioned romance, which reminded me of the film Super 8. The lead characters were so likeable, but not shallow. I feel in love with them throughout the book. I felt very tense during certain intense sections worrying about their fates. I equally liked the character Fred Ruskin. His tormented backstory was really gripping. Without spoiling anything, there were moments near the end that actually brought tears to my eyes.
I guess my only complaints about this novel was that it began to delve a little too much into the magical world for my personal liking. I don’t mind sorcery and supernatural elements, but I found some of the stuff (Ouija Board) a little cheesy. It just took me out of the suspense of the moments. In some ways, DeRouen’s novel reminded me of a cross between some of the great horror novels by John Saul and the Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Lastly, I have to mention how much I loved all the pop culture references. The author pays respects to classic books like A Wrinkle in Time and then also films like Jaws. How can you “say no” to a Spider-Man reference? All of these small touches made me smile!
I am very excited about where DeRouen’s paranormal horror series is going to go next. I find myself very invested the characters, who I can tell matter a lot to the author. I highly recommend that you, if you haven’t already, check this novel out. It was a real gem.
-Book Review by Curran Geist