Camp Death by Jim Ody

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Camp Death, one of a brand new series of YA Horror novellas from Question Mark Horror. My thanks to the publisher for the tour invite and for the advance copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Advance Reader Copy
Release Date: 30 August 2021
Publisher: Question Mark Horror

About the Book

The place had a gruesome past that nobody wanted to talk about…

Camp Deathe is now a great place to spend the summer. Ritchie soon finds a group of outsiders like himself. Teenagers who ignore the organised activities, and bunk off in the old abandoned cabins deep in the woods. The cabins that have a history.

The campfire monster stories were meant to just scare them. Nobody expected them to come true. Then one of the teenagers disappears in the middle of the night.

Something is watching them. It hides in the woods and hunts at night.

Ritchie will have to uncover the secrets of the camp, and understand his own problems in order to survive.

Camp Death is Book 1 in a new series brought to you by Question Mark Horror. For fans of Point Horror, Christopher Pike & Nicholas Pine.

My Thoughts

It’s been quite a while since I tucked into a horror themed book, even longer still since I fitted into the YA age group, but neither fact was enough to deter me when it came to the opportunity to read these new novellas from Question Mark Horror. Camp Death is book one in the series, written by Jim Ody and centred around a holiday park which is part adult spa retreat and part summer camp, allowing adults some respite from family life and the teenagers … well, as it turns out, some unexpected counselling and a short dose of object fear to boot. Because. Camp Deathe (an unfortunate and yet fitting name) is no ordinary campsite and has a very dark and tragic history. Think Camp Crystal Lake only with a more beastly vibe.

This is a quick and pacy read and one which draws you in from a very tense and heart pounding opening. It’s almost a short sharp shock but one which certainly grabs the attention and made me very curious about what might be to come. From here on in we meet out story’s main protagonist, Ritchie, a teenager who is suffering from a broken heart and is in no mood to engage with the ethos of his new holiday accommodation. Just as well as he is not going to have the normal activity based experience and his stay is going to be far from comfortable. Jim Ody careful creates a mini camp within a camp, a rag. tag bunch of teenagers who sneak off to abandoned cabins and do all of the things every self respecting, soon to be victim in a good horror story would do. You know, all of the things that you know instinctively are going to lead them to big trouble.

I liked the character of Ritchie. He, and his fellow camp mates, felt very real, the author capturing that awkwardness of teenage hormones and tense friendships perfectly. That need to showboat, to prove their standing amongst a bunch of people they will likely never see again. There is always a ringleader, in this case their camp counsellor, Toby, an objectionable oik who also happens to be the owners son. The archetypal spoilt kid who likes to bully, cajole and basically do anything other than encourage wholesome and creative activities. He is the kind that grates on your nerves, but one that keeps you reading in the hope that he gets his comeuppance. Each of the kids that surround and seemingly worship him are a brilliant blend of hormones, fear and stupidity, the exact type you expect to follow Toby blindly into danger. It all rings true.

Now this is a horror tale, so it would be pretty dull if it was all just about a dodgy summer vacation. There is an undercurrent to this novella, a backstory which is slowly uncovered, and not just the camp’s questionable history. There is something else, a dark shadow, a creeping, stalking presence which can be felt throughout book and which helps to build the tension to a very surprising but fitting conclusion. You’ll feel a range of emotions as you read from amusement, to anger and back again, alongside the tension and suspense that will draw you to the edge of your seat on numerous occasions. This is a brilliant story, definitely well suited to the YA market, and it kind of put me in mind of a cross between Friday 13th and another, very popular teen movie from my youth that I cannot mention for fear of spoilers. But it was a good one, and so was this novella. I wish I’d had books like this in my horror obsessed youth. Gets a thumbs up from me.

About the Author

Jim has written for a number of websites reviewing and interviewing rock bands, and contributing dark poems and comedic features.

He is now a full-time author of Horror, YA, and dark Psychological/Thrillers that have endings that you won’t see coming. If you look carefully, you’ll see things that connect the books.

As a hybrid author, he has currently written 15 books and over a dozen short-stories, all released by a number of publishers and also self-published. These include the popular Hudson Bell and Joel Baxter series. Next year his Tall Trees series will be release by SpellBound Books.

Jim also owns Question Mark Press, a publisher that looks to help authors publish their books by offering a free platform, advice, tools and a publisher community of support. He makes no money from this and the author keeps all of their royalties.

When not writing, or helping new writers, he can be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife and three beautiful children in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

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