Published by Orbit
Publication date – 28 July 2016
Source – review copy
“Prepare for the cleverest, most addictive thriller you will read this year. This is the story of the ill-fated Jack Sparks – a man who plays with fire, and pays the price . . .
THE MOST CHILLING AND UNPREDICTABLE THRILLER OF THE YEAR.
Jack Sparks died while writing this book.
It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed.
Then there was that video: forty 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.”
Jack Sparks is a journalist who doesn’t do things by halves. Whilst writing his book Jack Sparks on Gangs he followed gang members. In order to write Jack Sparks on Drugs, he took every illegal drug available. Now he’s writing Jack Sparks on the Supernatural, trying to debunk the afterlife. He attends an exorcism that doesn’t go as planned. Then finds a You Tube video posted to his account that he has nothing to do with. It’s said from the beginning that Jack Sparks died writing his book. But just how did he die?
This is a cleverly told tale. The book within a book format draws the reader in, giving the story a lovely flow. I soon found myself well engrossed in the book as a result. It would appear that Jason Arnopp had fun writing this novel. It is peppered with dark humour, which just adds to the entertainment.
Jack Sparks isn’t that likeable, and that is perhaps the point. He is egotistic, arrogant, self-centred and plain rude. Everything he writes is done to reflect his biased viewpoint and ridicule anyone who disagrees with him. His brother Alistair, whilst trying to be neutral, also begins to show that Jack’s character traits run in the family. Bex and Sherrilyn are great characters, giving a balance to the story but also providing some of the key scenes in the novel.
Jack is also an unreliable narrator, his story is contradicted by transcripts from other characters ‘inserted’ into his book by his brother Alistair. Alistair too comes across as not to be trusted, giving the whole story, from both sides, an edge of uncertainty and leading the reader to have to come to their own conclusions as to where the real story lies.
I’ve seen some reviews indicate that this book was scary. I didn’t personally think it was it was scary but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment of the novel. This is a thriller with a supernatural twist. It is a fresh spin on the thriller genre and cleverly executed.
This is an entertaining and darkly funny novel from Jason Arnopp. I am looking forward to reading more from him in the future.
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book.