Mini Review: The Sleeping Dead by Richard Farren Barber
Expected Publication: August 12, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon
When Jackson Smith attends an interview to escape his dead-end job, he witnesses a man jumping to his death through an office window. But this suicide is only the first of many he encounters. All around him, men and women begin taking their own lives. These seemingly random events make little sense to Jackson until he hears voices urging him to join the others.
As Jackson fights the desire to self-destruct, he flees through a mad city where the river and streets pile high with bodies of the sleeping dead, those who have simply surrendered to the strange voices.
Jackson's only chance is to find an escape to this madness before giving in to the strange voices in his head.
First off, I had a problem with the main character. Jackson just wasn't very memorable for me and I felt like I really just started scratching the surface of his character when the novella ended. It's not that he was badly written it's just that his development was lacking.
Secondly, I think the pacing of this one was way too slow. I don't normally mind a slow burn but this one just crawled at a snails pace for me and I had to keep putting it down in order to finish.
Lastly, the ending just sort of petered out instead of offering us any sort of conclusion to the plot. I don't need a happily ever after, heck I'd even take everyone dying but at least give us a reason why this suicide sickness started or something to indicate that the world is either going to get better or worse.
Now one thing I did actually like about the story was the suicide plague itself. As depressing as the subject of suicide is the inventive ways people killed themselves in the story was actually quite fascinating and albeit a bit morbidly the best part of the overall story. Actually,the voices or whatever was driving those to commit suicide reminded me of a film I saw a couple years back called The Signal wherein people who hear a mysterious signal turn into roving maniacs intent on destroying everything in their path.
Final ThoughtsUnfortunately, The Sleeping Dead is the first Dark Fuse novella that really didn't hold my attention. It saddens me because the premise really was good but the B-movie way in which it was executed was anything but. So I guess that begs the question,Would I recommend it? Honestly, I don't know. I think it would take a very specific reader to find this one enjoyable just because of the subject matter and the fact we do see so many suicides in a relatively short span of time.
With that being said, I'll be rating The Sleeping Dead by Richard Farren Barber ★★★.
*Copy reviewed provided by publisher. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way for providing them.
About the Author
He has written over 200 short stories and has had short stories published in Alt-Dead, Alt-Zombie, Blood Oranges, Derby Scribes Anthology, Derby Telegraph, ePocalypse – Tales from the End, Gentle Reader, Murky Depths, Midnight Echo, Midnight Street, Morpheus Tales, MT Biopunk Special, MT Urban Horror Special, Night Terrors II, Siblings, The House of Horror, Trembles, When Red Snow Melts, and broadcast on BBC Radio Derby and The Wicked Library.
Richard’s novella, The Power of Nothing was published by Damnation Books in September 2013 and his next novella, The Sleeping Dead will be published in August 2014 by DarkFuse.