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Jared Sandman was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1985. He began selling his first stories professionally while in high school and wrote his first novel upon graduation. (That book, BLOOD MONEY, sits in a desk drawer where it will never see the light of day.)
LEVIATHAN was his second attempt at the long form, which he wrote two years later. This was followed up by THE WILD HUNT, DREAMLAND and THE SHADOW WOLVES. His next novel, BLACKSTONE, will be released in 2012. He's currently working on his seventh book.
Jared lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and can be reached through his website, www.jaredsandman.com, where he keeps a blog. Follow him on Twitter @JaredSandman.
I'm a huge fan of stories like this that feature an ensemble cast of people with differing abilities who wouldn't otherwise have any reason to know each other but they get thrown together and have to figure out a way to persevere. The backstory, as it gets revealed more with each passing chapter, is fascinating, and the climax, once all the major details and reader's questions have been answered, is a fantastic payoff.
I'm also a fan of prison dramas, and loved both "Oz" and "Prison Break" when they were on the air, and think it's very cool that this story provides a supernatural exploration on this type of story with some elements of a Haunted House story thrown in. "Blackstone" makes for an excellent read, and should definitely be high on your list if you ever wanted to see a mashup of "The Shawshank Redemption" with "The Amityville Horror".
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I loved this 30 chapter book. I'm a huge scaredy cat, so this book was right up my alley with frightening myself. It dealt with ghosts. I loved the scenes where they went ghost hunting in the prison because it reminded me of Ghost Hunters on the SyFy channel. I could imagine the characters in the pitch dark with all of their equipment. And the story sort of reminded me of Agatha Christie's Then There Were None when Jack, Janet, Sully, Bryon, and Bruce agreed to spend the weekend at Blackstone for a large sum of money. They each had received a letter through the mail from Anthony Creighton. Throughout the story, I thought Anthony acted very suspicious and was up to something.
I loved the opening-how Blackstone was described like a medieval castle-that image made me get in gear towards castles being haunted. A.k.a. Expect the prison to be haunted too. I expected suspense and horror, and definitely got it. The author was great with dialogue; the conversations and body language was entertaining and it was pretty realistic for a setting like this. The questions, paranoia, arguments, accusations, shock value helped provide knowing when the characters' minds started playing tricks on them.
I feared for everyone's safety, and I enjoyed how the twists revealed themselves at the end. I also enjoyed the group dynamic. Everyone was pretty much strangers, except Sully and Janet (fraternity twins who hadn't seen each other in a long time).
It was cool the way everyone was skeptical at first but finally started to realize ghosts were real (that the town rumor surrounding Blackstone wasn't just a myth). The spirits were relentless in messing with the humans.Read more ›
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