*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
Above the crackle of burning wood, a scream rose and curdled the blood within him. The tone of the cry cut into his spine with the precision of a sharpened blade. With his heart in his stomach, Ben ran to his home, trying to understand the reason for his pregnant wife’s screams. Frightened legs refused to move fast enough to satisfy his worried mind. Ben pushed his way into the front door, scraping the frame as he hurried. A sighted destined to scar Ben the rest of his life appeared before his as vibrant as a scene from a movie. Lily stood over their area-rug, knees locked together, and blood pooling under her until the beige colored rug turned an angry shade of crimson. The sight haunted his dreams for years to come without the clarity ever fading. When Ben reached his wife, she was shaking as he guided her onto a nearby chair. Her eyes were wide, filled with terror, and gone was any sense of reality. Ben waved a hand in front of her face and snapped his fingers.
“Lily can you hear me? Please, Lily, talk to me? She turned her head to him – tears rolled down her cheeks. “What happened Lily?” She looked at the bloody carpet.
“I was dusting, and it felt like my insides were ripping apart,” Lily said. Ben looked at her swollen belly and began to cry.
Jenny’s son is acting strange and drawing detailed pictures of bloody murders – she has reason to assume that her ex-husband may be to blame. Her new husband Robert has just taken up a new position as warden at the local prison that holds it’s own dark secrets. Finding a hidden diary that tells the tale of a depraved prisoner thought to be the Devil himself, Robert begins to see and feel supernatural happenings.
Mysteries abound, and chains can’t seem to hold the darkness in Jerry Roth’s Bottom Feeders.
From the first scene that sees a baby being born with no sign of an umbilical cord in sight, you know this novel is not playing nice. Bottom Feeders follows Jenny and her son Zack, along with her new husband Robert and her best friend Liam, as they discover dark secrets with dangerous consequences. Children are disappearing, children that her son is somehow connected with and Jenny has reason to believe it has something to do with her abusive ex-husband. Robert takes up his new post as prison warden only to discover that there is a prisoner living under the jail who should have been sent to the electric chair decades before. Only with the diary of his predecessor found in his enthralling and hypnotic new desk which offers not only old papers, but also new and terrifying visions.
Roth carries the separate story lines well within the book, keeping the reader interested in each thread by creating full and multi-layered characters. As the story progresses it’s clear that few of these characters are likeable but they are believable for the most part.
At times some motivations are not as clear as they could be, serious conversations seemingly erupting forth out of nowhere in otherwise everyday scenarios, yet it is true that each of the characters in this book are very serious themselves. Likewise, Jenny’s ‘evidence’ for her husband being involved in the nefarious goings on are flimsy even for such a deplorable man. But the story as a whole is populated by flawed, passionate characters, who whether you like them or not, you want to find out the end of their stories.
Riddled with twists, turns, and shadows, you will not be able to guess the ending of this novel, the heavy weights that tie all of the threads together. Bottom Feeders hooks you in with what may seem a straight forward path, but the sharps turns it takes you on will leave you shocked.
Exploring the devil in humanity, and the humanity in Lucifer himself, Bottom Feeders spares few, and redeems even fewer.
About the Author –
Jerry Roth is a graduate from The Ohio State University where he studied English Literature. He has written for Ohio newspapers and sports articles for the Disc Golf Pro Tour. His fiction career began as a screenwriter. He currently lives in Ohio with his wife Tricia and his three children Jesse, Lea, and Nick. After reading The Stand by Stephen King, he became passionate about creating his own work of fiction. Bottom Feeders is his debut novel.
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