Cover Image: Don't Move

Don't Move

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Member Reviews

I might be another one to have picked up this book because-Hey, is that THAT guy?  But you shouldn't pick it up for that reason.  You shouldn't NOT pick it up for that reason.  What we have here is a good old monster story.  It starts horrifically.  Megan loses her family in a way that would be totally at home in one of Final Destination movies.  The opening scene is truly gruesome.  And you know it is coming pretty much from the get go.  The authors are adept at the sense of foreboding and imminent doom.  Megan watches her husband and son die, the world sees it on YouTube, and she has pretty much pulled out of the world.  Who wouldn't?

She decides to try to get back to life by taking a hiking and camping trip with a small church group.  This group is taking it to the extreme.  Let's go somewhere that no one has been to in who knows how long.  Now, I must say that I am not one of those people who is spooked by the woods.  I live in a national forest and I spend my summer nights outside on a hammock staring at the sky and the treetops.  I say hello to the coyotes, raccoons, what have you.  We respect each other and leave each other alone.  (Even I back slowly away from the bears and hope never to see in person the mountain lions that show up on my Ring Cams.)  Still, not afraid of the woods.  Doesn't help here because you know that this is not the same forest.

Everyone on the trip has a backstory that we get a peak at.  I would have liked more than a peak on most of them.  Maybe not all of them, but I saw some definite opportunities for some more detail that would have helped the story move up a star.  Regardless, I felt like I was watching a monster-of-the-week episode of one of my favorite supernatural shows.  We had a pretty cool monster.  We had people acting stupid and people learning and acting slightly less stupid.  So....people.  And I have to say I was pretty satisfied by the ending.  Sequel or not, it worked.  Really glad I picked up this one.  It was a little short.  It was a quick, fun read.  I'd like to thank the authors, publisher, and Netgalley for the ARC.

Read this review and others on my blog at:                                   https://readeotw.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/dont-move-byjames-s-murray-and-darren-wearmouth/
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Terror from an Impractical Joker. Original concept and well thought out characters. Super scary and so fun! Like an old 80’s B movie.
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A book about giant spiders should at least have a good ick factor to it. But "Don't Move" is too goofy and preposterous to give even the most sensitive arachnophobes pause. The characters are cartoonish and their conflicts grating, so by the time their church bus finally arrives at the spiderworks factory, it's a relief that they're almost all instantly gobbled up by one monstrous spider with no sense of portion control.

This is one of those B-movie books where the set-pieces are so uninspired that you can't help but distract yourself with the practicalities. The text never mentions it, but the book description claims "Don't Move" is about a prehistoric spider who hunts its prey with patience. In practice, it murders pretty much anything it sees, from wildlife to humans. So not only does it have zero patience, it also should have completely depopulated its food supply long before our heroes stumble across it.

Then there's the matter of the obligatory "Yes, the heroes survive, but the monster laid eggs" twist. Upon recovering in a hospital, our protagonist wakes up to discover that baby spiders have literally filled her room with webs in all directions and are now waiting for something to fall into their trap. But... wouldn't they have run across her while stringing their webs and already eaten her already?

The less said about the mechanics of the traumatic amusement park accident that opens the book, the better. Suffice to say, I am fairly certain chair swing rides do not work like that.

These are all things you shouldn't be thinking about when reading a book like this. And breifly sketched, you can imagine how "Don't Move" might be dumb fun. Unfortunately, one of those two qualities is absent.
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I'm torn with this review. Did I like the book? Overall, yes. The pace was fast (although it took a little too long to get to the spider, when we knew that's what we were getting based on the synopsis), Megan was a good main character to root for, the carnage and gross-out moments were on point, and it had a fantastic closing moment.

The downfall was that the writing wasn't...great. It almost felt like I was reading an elongated movie script that was turned into a novel in hopes that a production company or studio would pick it up and make it into a movie. The rest of the characters were fairly stock or under-developed, so seemed to be there as chum for the spider... and therefore, you didn't care when they died. There was also not as much suspense as you would hope there would be in a story like this. But when it delivered on the gore...it really delivered. In fact, the opening scene seemed right out of a "Final Destination" movie.

So...I liked it. But I didn't love it. Which means I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to EVERYONE.
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Don't Move starts off with a gruesome, chilling first chapter and never lets go.

Enjoying a summer evening at the local traveling carnival, Megan Forrester's life shatters before her eyes when a horrific accident claims the lives of her husband and son. Months later, Megan is trying to get her life back together and overcome the near-paralyzing guilt she feels. A church camping trip seems like the perfect way to ease herself back into the world a bit and start claiming her life.

Little does she or any of the other members of her party realize that what started out as an innocent weekend excursion will soon become a terrifying, deadly fight for survival in an isolated part of the Monongahela National Forest.

James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth's Don't Move feels like a lot Stephen King story that you'd tell around the campfire as you tried to scare the fool out of each other. After the horrifying opening chapter, Murray and Wearmouth take time to introduce and develop the various members of the camping party so that when bad things start happening, we've developed an emotional investment in the party. From Pastor Rizzo to his daughter Emma and her boyfriend, Ryan to the grandparent and their grandson, Murray and Wearmouth create more than just a group of victims waiting to meet a horrific fate. We also meet Ricky, the ex-boyfriend of Emma and drug dealer who has a different agenda for this trip than just getting away from it all.

Tension and terror built over the course of the novel as the group discovers something lurking in the woods that's out to get them and that help may not be as easy to get as they hoped.

Listening to the audio version of Don't Move was a suitably creepy experience. Read by Murray (of Impractical Joker fame), there were times when the story not only had the characters looking closely at the shadows, but I was as well. (It may not help that I get up early to job and this book accompanied on several mornings as the sun was coming up). Murray does a superlative job of ratcheting up the suspense and creating and distinguishing each character through his performance.  

Creepy and compelling, Don't Move is the perfect horror/suspense story for the Halloween season.

I received a digital ARC of this book and the audiobook via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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ARACHNOPHOBIA in the Monongahela National Forest

This book starts out with a truly horrific and graphic prologue at a state fair in New Jersey so be warned.

Jump ahead nine months and Megan is trying to put the calamity that befell her family a bit behind her. She signs up for a church bus camping trip in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia.

A motley group of people including the pastor ride on the bus from New York to West Virginia led by a less than competent tour guide. By the time the group realizes they are no where near the place they were to be camping, it's too late...and the horror show has really begun.

I wasn't too impressed by the last book I read by this writing pair but I enjoyed this one much more. Yes, it's like reading the script for a Grade B Creature Feature movie but that's okay with me - I used to enjoy watching those movies.

I liked Megan's character - a strong woman with an important job overlooking operations at a huge food distribution center. She had earned her reputation as the ultimate puzzle solver through her intellect, instinct, and logistical skills.

She brings those skills to the forest trying to survive and helping her fellow campers survive.

Do note there are gory, graphic scenes. Be prepared.

I received this book from Blackstone Publishing through Net Galley in the hopes that I would read and review it.
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Holy cow! Or should I say spider? This book was fast paced and hard to put down! You won’t want to stop reading until the end and even then you’re going to want more! Even as an arachnophobe this book was the perfect one to send shivers down your spine and if there wasn’t already a story to stop you from camping this surely will be!
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Set aside a little time when you’re ready to read Don’t Move – because this is one roller coaster ride of a horror novel.

This is a Creature Feature – will all the ickiness that entails.  Our critters are hungry, smart, and everywhere!

The book starts with a scene that’s utterly horrifying.  It’s more of a character building scene than anything related to the rest of the story.  However, the feel of that section continues in the rest of the book – building horrors and heartbreak upon horrors and heartbreak until you just can’t breathe anymore!

The book does skirt some things – like the why and how of it all – but you aren’t likely to notice while you’re deep in the middle of the action!

Definitely a solid horror thriller.  Would love to read the author again!

*ARC Provided via Net Galley.
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Many months after a personal disturbing life tragedy, Megan arranges a camping trip getaway with her pastor and church group hoping for an opportunity to insert normalcy in her life once again. Realizing the facade of what seems like paradise on earth is actually a nightmare in hideous disguise, Megan soon realizes history is about to repeat itself.
    Don’t Move by James S. Murray & Darren Wearmouth is a great creature feature presentation spotlighting an enormous eight legged arachnid. The author duo creates a setting where a group of people isolated in a claustrophobic wooded area stumble upon a deadly six foot spider. Moving silently through uncharted territories and spinning its network of webbing, this monstrosity lurking in the darkness is written with a considerable amount of intensity and sudden startles. The creepiness factor is through the roof as is the nightmarish shocks that are ever so consistent, keeping the reader trapped and continually on guard. Just when you think these authors won’t go there...they go there, demonstrating that anything can happen and there are no lines that won’t be crossed. Not only does this book have all the factors that make a great story, it flat out makes purchasing a copy a must. 
     The next time you find yourself in the stunning outdoors with no communication, suddenly having the entire area fall silent, hearing a distant high pitched hissing and viewing a glimpse of movement in your peripheral vision...just remember... Don't Move. Highly recommended by the Horror Bookworm.
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A good escape into a compelling "what if" scenario.  I love a good creature feature and this one definitely satisfied.  Plus, killer ending!
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