I'd been in a slump lately; every book I picked up dragged or failed to get my attention. I'd been craving a page turner and no one seemed to deliver anymore. That is, until I cracked open Brandon Ford's third novel. With Pay Phone, Mr. Ford shows us he is here to stay and one of today's most exciting and fresh new voices in horror.
The events of Pay Phone take place over two days during the winter of 1998 in New York City. Jake Taft lures people inside his apartment overlooking a pay phone by calling the phone and sweet talking women into coming to meet him. There they meet a tragic end. Jake is haunted--and I don't mean "ghost haunting" here--by Susan. I will let readers discover who she is as the events of the story unfold. One day, Jake calls the pay phone and a beautiful actress named Chelsea picks up. This one is special and Jake will go to great lengths to get her.
Pay Phone unfolds at a breezy pace with great rhythm and without wasting a single word. The characters are all very realistic and their dialogue rings true. Even minor characters like the landlord were well fleshed out. Chelsea's relationships with her father and her roommate could've been drawn from any girl her age in real life. And of Jake, the protagonist/antagonist, I will say that many troubled souls who have been scarred by traumas turn into what he has become. One only has to watch the six o'clock news to find creatures like him whose deranged minds make them prey on society every day. It becomes clear the farther we get in the story that we should brace ourselves for a bloody finale. And the climax doesn't disappoint one bit.
A brisk read and a well orchestrated work of death and danger, Pay Phone delivers the goods in spades. So if you're a horror aficionado in search of a good book to get your fix, look no further and treat yourself to a copy of Brandon Ford's latest; you'll be glad you did!