One of the world’s greatest and most universal questions is “What happens after we die?” I think about that a lot (which is probably not a big surprise) . I wonder how my family members are doing. I think about the concept of reincarnation, and if it does happen, would the entire universe funnel into one pool of souls? Or do souls get stuck in orbit around wherever they cross over before flitting back down into a new Earth avatar?
There are a lot of thoughts to be explored on the subject, but the after-world that was created in Paris Singer’s new book “The Regulars” is one that makes a lot of sense. It’s mysterious and surreal yet, when the mists part and we get a clearer picture of what the after life may be like- and the things that lurk inside it.
Paris Singer’s work has been on Horror Made before. He wrote the incredible book The Skull Collector which made my Top 13 Horror Reads of 2015. And now that he has a new novel coming out he was kind enough to send me an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.
So let’s meet
Written by: Paris Singer
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Ghosts , Afterlife
Publishing Info: Advanced Reader Copy
A man wakes to find himself dead and alone in a forest and soon realizes he has no memory of who he is or how he came to die there.
As he sets off to unravel the mystery of his past, he is pulled into a world stranger than death itself, where the struggle to balance good and evil lies behind the scenes, in the shadows.
On his journey, he encounters The Regulars, a self-proclaimed band of misfits whose sole purpose is to terrify the living.
Among them is Mr. Cage, a nefarious, dark jester who delights in causing havoc, misery and pain to all those whom he encounters.
What begins as a journey to uncover a brutal murder, soon unfolds into a race against malevolent forces, where not everything is as
it seems… [goodreads]
In the confused beginning
This books starts off in a very abstract space. The narrator is a soul that has just regained consciousness in the afterlife. He has no idea who he is, where his is, or how the world around him works. So his experience is described as a series of emotions initially.
When you get into this book, don’t try to make sense of it right away, and do give it a chapter to grow on you. Like fog over a lake on a summer morning, the confusion and grief clears away. It turns into an adventure through the afterlife that is well worth reading.
Our narrator begins as a soul lost in a torrent of grief, and then one small set of eyes brings him back into an existence of understanding. That’s when he meets The Regulars.
The not so Merry band of Mischief makers
I love this cast of misfit souls so much. There is River, a solemn woman who awoke in the after life at the edge of a river. (She’s the one who got the Horror Made fan art treatment today). There’s “The Boy” who takes a liking to our narrator and decides to train him in the ways of the Regulars. There’s the group’s leader, a massive bearded man called Louis. And then, there’s the one who gives you the heebie-jeebies right away, Mr. Cage. He seems more like a vicious spider than a man, and he’s quickly one you start to fear- although the reason why doesn’t become clear until the end.
This group has kind of a Beetlejucie vibe to them. As their main source of entertainment seems to be scaring the living daylights out of living people. We don’t linger in that routine too long though, because our narrator is a good soul. One that hungers for answers. How can I protect The Boy from The Regulars? What happened to me? How did I die? Was I killed?
Through his journey to protect his new young friend, he finds his path. One little breadcrumb of a clue at a time that leads him down a spiraling rabbit hole of the recently deceased, and the clues that lead him to the final answers.
As I enjoyed with Paris’s “The Skull Collector” the narrator’s journey through the world feels surreal and abstract in a poetic way. Where this book differs is that, as time goes on, we get a clearer and more concrete understanding of the world by the end. My one criticism is that in that last few pages there’s a character that spells everything that happened out, clearing up most of the lingering questions. I didn’t like that because it felt a little pandering after all of the faith the reader was given along the way to piece together the clues. However– it was also nice to have some of those big “what the heck?!” questions explained plainly- in particular what the deal was with Mr. Cage.
Now that’s a character I’d love to read more about. He’s one freeeeeaaaaaaky dude.
Ah, but what a delicious mystery
What I loved most about this book was the mystery of our narrator’s death and how the clues unfolded. The journey surprised me, kept me guessing, and kept me incredibly entertained the whole way through.
4.5 out of 5 blood spattered stars. I think anyone who enjoyed the show Dead Like Me, or the movie Beetlejuice will really enjoy the mystery and adventure of this book.
Find a Copy by keeping an eye on Paris Singer:
And on Goodreads