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Don't Read This Book by [Blackmoore, Stephen, Connolly, Harry, Dansky, Rich, Gilman, Laura Anne, Hindmarch, Will, Lafferty, Mur, Laws, Robin D., Murphy, C.E.]
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3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 200 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 1679 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Evil Hat Productions (April 24, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 24, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007XH6EXU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mad City is a deeply disturbing place that can only be found by the deeply disturbed. Those who can't (or won't) sleep eventually become Awake enough to see the city and possibly stumble into it. Whether it's adjacent to our reality or simply seeps into the cracks of it, you don't want to be stranded there. Nightmares roam the streets, hoping to find people foolish enough to wander out and be consumed - or worse, converted. Everyone is a nightmare waiting to happen.

This is a themed anthology of stories all set in Mad City. The stories range from terrifying to funny to totally disturbing. There's not a bad story in the lot, though my favorites are the first story, Don't Forget Your Patients by Stephen Blackmoore, and the last story, Don't Chew Your Food by Harry Connolly. As twisted or deranged or pitiful as the protagonist in each story is, they all undeniably belong in the chaos of Mad City.

I really can't recommend this anthology highly enough. The stories flow together beautifully to create what feels like a real place. Mad City has a set of rules and a few higher-profile inhabitants that make appearances throughout multiple stories, and seeing these from the perspective of different authors/characters is fascinating. I'm a huge lover of themed anthologies, and this one is probably my favorite yet. I hope there's more Mad City forthcoming.

(As a side note, I had to put this book down when I tried to read it the first time. I had a fullblown panic attack on an airplane and while I was trying to calm down in the airport, I thought I'd read this book as a distraction. No. A world of no. I will tell you that it's scary enough to not help lull away someone's anxiety. Which makes it even more awesome. You know, after.)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Either this is the most aptly titled book in years, or I have become jaded. My expectations in this Horror sub-genre have become quite high, with Mercedes Yardley, (check out "Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love," for example) and Laird Barron ("The Light is the Darkness") leading the pack. I would not be fair if I left out Thomas Ligotti and the Grand Master, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Based on what I read in this book, none of these authors shows evidence of ever joining the elites in the genre.
The premise is a bit cutesy; every story title begins with the word, "don't". All the stories are set in a place called, "Mad City," a place first envisioned by Fred Hicks in his prior collection, "Don't Rest Your Head." In his forward to this book, he tells the reader that many of the contributing authors contacted him, saying that after reading his collection, they had been inspired to write their own "Mad City" stories. Thus came about this volume.
I can say honestly that some of the stories are momentarily entertaining, but only two are memorable for me. They are C.E. Murphy's (Urban Shaman series author) "Don't Wreck Your Soul," and Robin D. Law's, "Don't Lose Your S***." The latter earned the book the third star in this review because his prose style in this case is quite original. One might even say it is weird.
In summary, This is not a bad book, and it could make a good jumping off point for those new to the genre. Readers already familiar with the genre would do best to heed the title, there's little new or original for them here.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Don't Read This Book" (DRTB from here on out) is a fun and entertaining collection of short stories set in the Mad City, a secret world gone wrong where reality as we know it is twisted or absent entirely. DRTB is based on the Evil Hat tabletop RPG, Don't Rest Your Head, but no knowledge of the game is necessary to enjoy the stories as presented. In fact, in some ways, it's better to not know anything at all as I feel it ups the sense of mystery and creepiness that the stories give off. But the short of it is that people, through extreme insomnia and not a little bit of madness, wake up and begin to perceive the Mad City around them. The problem is that the Mad City now can percieve them in return and that's sometimes a dangerous proposition.

DRTB explores 13 people dealing with the Mad City and the deranged denizens. The stories range from quirky and amusing (Don't Spill Your Tea), to the bizarre (Don't Harsh Your Buzz) to the sad (Don't Forget Your Kids) to the mindscrew (Don't Chew Your Food), but all of them have an undertone of mystery, of danger, of creepiness. The only real complaint I can make is that at less than 200 pages, it feels a bit short. What is there is very entertaining, but for the price paid I can't help wanting a little more than I got. Even 2-3 more stories might have made it feel a bit more substantial. In any case, I think it's a great collection of surrealistic horror stories that people should definitely check out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While I loved having a set of stories to help establish the feel of Don't Rest Your Head's setting, I had one minor quibble. I grok that a parent losing their child is likely one of the most common routes to become one of the Awake in Mad City, I could have wished that it be less common of a starting point of the short story anthology. More exploration of the less obvious ways to lose your sleep and then your mind might have been nice. That said, the stories established the dark surrealism and the essential loneliness of the setting, if being a little short on the blinding flashes of hope that go hand and hand with despair.
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