Cover Image: Webster

Webster

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4/5⭐️

After the events at Trevor Hall, we’re catapulted to the West Coast where Smithy/Webster has been sold off to CSAM to participate in scientific trials that could include studies on gambling, language, new medicines and more.

The original study group from Book 1 have all gone their own ways. Ruby and Jeff both join Piers to drop off Smithy at the lab. It is here that both Ruby and Jeff take it upon themselves to protect Smithy and find a better place for him.

Piers has come out with scathing comments regarding the failure of the study and Smithy. Man Teague, the head of CSAM is a cruel and vindictive researcher who will do anything to get the data he wants and also use any method necessary to show he is in charge.

Through an epistolary form of story telling, we again begin to learn of new spooky experiences occurring at the lab, a trial to discuss humanity and if a chimpanzee like Smithy should have some form of rights. It strongly shows how human ignorance on the unknown can be damaging in various ways.

One of the biggest downfalls of this novel is the length. Packed to the brim at 600 pages, there was a significant amount of repetition and some confusion. Much of the spookiness that permeated the first book didn’t show up as much in this book and I would have enjoyed more of that. The ending left me wanting but not in a bad way. I was Team Smithy all along. Still, I believe it’s a strong novel and I’m glad I came across it.

Thank you net galley, inkshares publishing and Amanda Desiree for the opportunity to read this novel.

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I think Webster can be split into two parts, the time at CSAM and the time in trial. CSAM carries more of the spirit of Smithy in creep factor and I really wanted that energy to carry through at the same level through the rest of the book, but I still whole heartedly enjoyed the trial aspect as well. Desiree writes with such a stunning flow between media (letters, reports, footage, etc) and it provides such a unique picture of the characters.

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I love found footage/epistolary horror, I loved Smithy, and finding out there's a sequel was a pure blast: I couldn't wait to read it. It turned out to be all I expected and even more: the detailed descriptions this time around cover far more ground than in the first book, there's a wide variety of scenes and settings, and the whole set-up of bringing the haunted house into the laboratory worked perfectly. The investigative work and the imagination in this book are simply stunning. Highly recommended!

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This was a great sequel and it answered a lot of questions that were cliff hangers in the first book

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I thought this was a pretty good follow-up to the first book, though it did follow the least interesting pair from the original group. The "science gone wrong" and spooky things happening in sterile offices trope worked really well, especially in contrast to the classic haunted house setting of Smithy. Like the first book, it was about 100 pages too long, and the lengthy focus on the court battle won't appeal to everyone (I enjoyed it for the realism it added), but definitely worth a read.

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Thank you Netgalley and Inkshares Publishing for the ARC ♥️

Synopsis:
In the summer of 1974, a team of scientists embarked on a groundbreaking experiment at Trevor Hall, a derelict mansion in Rhode Island. Their subject was a chimpanzee named Webster, whom they affectionately nicknamed Smithy. The researchers aimed to teach Webster American Sign Language, hoping to bridge the communication gap between humans and animals. The project showed promise, but it ended in tragedy, leaving behind whispers of a dark presence stirred within the mansion's walls.

Webster was then transferred to the California-based research lab, CSAM, led by the enigmatic and authoritarian Manfried Teague. CSAM was shrouded in secrecy and rumors of inhumane experiments. Despite this, two of Webster's original researchers, Jeff Dalton and Ruby Cardini, joined him at CSAM, determined to protect their furry friend.
My thoughts::
As someone who's always been fascinated by the intersection of science and the paranormal, I find Webster's story absolutely captivating. The idea that a chimpanzee's ability to communicate with humans could unlock secrets of the unknown is both thrilling and unsettling. The fact that the story is rooted in real-life experiments and events makes it even more compelling.

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I read Smithy (the first in the series) and was very curious to see what became of Smithy/Webster in his new environment.

Trigger warnings for animal cruelty and death. The lab scenes were a hard read for me. Very graphic, but also I have no doubt that this is going on in our reality. Really sad.

I enjoyed being reconnected with Jeff and Ruby. They are great characters and Ruby showed enormous strength and growth throughout the book.

Smithy is now being housed in a research facility that uses chimps as test subjects. The owner of the facility is a raging sociopath who enjoys using his cattle prod. Ruby and Jeff take on research roles at the facility in hopes that they can make things better for Smithy. The dark lady also seems to have followed Smithy as well.

Really liked this next installment. I love Smithy.

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Let me start off by saying I did not realize that this book was a sequel when I started to read it. With that said, Webster can be read just fine as a standalone novel. I did not feel like I was missing a whole lot and could follow the story just fine. If you like supernatural horror that tells the journey of some troubled souls and a horrifying species, Webster is the book for you! It was a little slow for me but enough of a deeply disturbing horror novel that I will definitely pick up the first book.

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As soon as I found our there was going to be a sequel to Smithy I put Webster right in my shopping cart!
The biggest difference was that the Point of View we mostly got was from Ruby. We have her diary entry's and letters she would write to Tammy. Reid makes an appearance as the author about the whole smithy experiment and the chapters we got from this was part of the newest edition for the millennium.
Now I have to say right here and now I am totally team Taniesha! That woman was put through hell by the asshole who ran CSAM where Smithy now resides. Now It seems like Ruby and Jeff were still obsessed with Smithy and I started to Dislike Jeff as the book went foreword. He felt like he had a complete personality change from the first book. During this time we are introduced to Brad who becomes Smithy's biggest advocate. Although I personally don't think we should be letting a Chimp smoke weed. This was a hit out of the park. With each character I had very strong feelings about all of them. I did enjoy the format which was similar, however I wish we had something about Jeffs inner thoughts. Even thou I honestly wanted to punch him in the face a few times.

I felt as though the trial in the end was something I was in two minds about. On one hand I could have done without it and had it at the very end of the book. However my other mind says it was a huge part of the story. But the fanatics that surrounded the trial were the ones who were insane. I'm also trying to keep in mind that the copy I received was in a pdf form so that probably affected my opinions. Which might very well change ( for the better) once I have a physical copy in my hands.
Overall I was very happy with this. In my opinion I was not disappointed with this and the wait was worth it. Now to wait for it to come out!

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I really enjoyed “Smithy” and went into “Webster” with high hopes. And while there are many moments where “Webster” is more scary and more emotional than “Smithy” the narrative as a whole is dragged down by bloat. This book is about 200 pages too long. The court drama, while compelling, and incredibly well written, just goes on too long. Still I enjoy this authors style and mind and I thank Netgalley for the ARC.

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Ruby and James arrive in California to drop off Webster better known as smithie to a new lab because he was acquired for RESEARCH reasons by a guy name Mann. Smithie is a chimpanzee who has the highest level of sign language communication among all the chimpanzees ever tested but when he arrives at CMA his new home he is stripped of his clothes and given the same on tasty food the other monkeys are given another words he is it treated special and like he’s a little boy like he was when he lived in Connecticut. Ruby and James cannot fathom leaving Smithy on his own in this Hellish Place so they begged Mann for a job and because him being a jerk he cannot keep people he agrees. They do however have little access to Smithy and their boss has made it clear they will be no treating him special something the caretaker of the animals must not of heard because he and Smitty become really close really quick as he is with most of the animals. His name is Brad and he is a kind very intelligent guy and although he’s never going to college eventually Ruby will teach him how to do research and write papers ask for Smitty he is sinking into a depression and it doesn’t help when the thing that haunted him back in Connecticut arrives in California. Throughout the book strange things start happening my only issue with the book is it it took forever for them to start not only that I couldn’t take their boss Maniford he was a jerk openly racist and would often threaten to kill his employees he also kept the animals in line by prodding them with a cattle prod eventually however the story does get good especially with the not so nice Marian who almost gets her comeuppance from the Monkees himself there is a lot in this book that I just cannot put in my review what I will say is I found Rubys letters to her friend in Connecticut in the video tape sections to be quite good because we got the explanation in the event while they happened but I just found some of it tedious it felt like it drug on too long. I also found the at time to discombobulated and would either jump from one day to the next day or a week ahead in somethings we found out as they happened and somethings we found out after the fact which was confusing. I also found the book quite long and almost stopped at 52% it was either really good or being repetitive or confusing I mean it sounds like a great book and I’m sure some people are going to love it but I myself love the parts of it but then not others. I do want to thank the publisher and net galley for my free arc copy please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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This book was great!! I was so excited to be able to get an advanced copy of this book! The story was very eerie and the author did a great job of enveloping the reader in the plot. Highly recommend!

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This is the type of book that will pull at your heart and cause you to feel for the characters that are depicted. It definitely left me questioning and looking at real life cases in which animals were involved.

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WEBSTER: a chilling, heartfelt exploration of humanity, alterity and the afterlife.
I have always been a fan of horror fiction that does not hesitate going deep into human nature. And WEBSTER(the sequel to SMITHY, which I had no problem reading as a standalone novel), is just what people who enjoy this kind of horror fiction need.
Carrying on with the epistolary style of the previous novel, reminiscent of the grandaddy of all horror novels, DRACULA, WEBSTER moves from a possible haunted house to a possibly haunted laboratory, being told with letters, news reports, interviews, court documents, and so on, from a cast of very compelling characters, from the villain of the piece, Manfred „Man” Teague, leader of the Center for the Scientific Advancement of Man, which aims to study the links between primates and human beings, to lab researchers and staff like Jeff Dalton and Ruby Cardini, to Taniesha Walker, an African-American woman who bears the brunt of the racism and abuse of Teague, but bravely stands up for herself and Smithy. The story this book tells is a story of troubled times and troubled souls, a deeply disturbing read at times, with people clashing over the fate of an ape, but also a troubling mirror in the face of a species which likes to boast of its advancement, but is willing to do a lot of harm. The supernatural events of the book are not certainly depicted, constantly question. The human cruelty is not. Therein lies the true horror of this superb novel. Solid ten out of five.

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This was a great sequel in the Smithy series, it had a great overall feel to the story. The horror elements worked overall and that it had everything that I enjoyed from the genre. The characters felt like they belonged in this world and glad it worked overall.

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I really enjoyed the first book “Smithy”, but this one felt too draggy, particularly with all the court proceedings over a damn chimp. Lost interest halfway.

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The subject matter for Webster was a home run for me. It pulled on my heartstrings, and I couldn't look away. While I did not read the first book in this series, I feel like this could easily be a stand alone, and shouldn't scare anyone off.
This book is written as a compilation of many different sources that tell the same story. This includes journal entries, letters, film, etc. The effect is somewhat of a double edge sword. I enjoyed the realistic nature, but also found it to be a little disjointed at parts. Overall, the author did a fantastic job telling the story of the mysterious Webster.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I gladly leave this review.

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[Blurb goes here]

Webster, the sequel to the haunted house/horror story "Smithy" (3.58 stars on Goodreads), takes readers on a chilling journey as Smithy, the sign language communicating chimpanzee, faces new horrors in a California research lab (CSAM).

Following the tragic events in Rhode Island, Smithy's handlers relocate to the lab, hoping to care for him. However, a sinister force seems to have tagged along, creating an atmosphere of unease and suspense.

The narrative unfolds through a unique blend of diary entries, letters, CCTV footage, recordings, interviews with scientists, and more. While this format adds an intriguing layer to the storytelling, it's not without its challenges, especially for readers navigating the story.

One stumbling block for me was the shifting points of view. The small narrations seemed to dance to their own rhythm, not always following the same rules as the preceding or subsequent sections. This made it a bit like trying to navigate a highway filled with potholes. Each perspective switch felt like a jolt, interrupting the flow and making it hard for me to fully immerse in the story.

Despite the narrative hurdles, the overall adventure and characters managed to keep me interested. The plot unfolds like a mystery, keeping you on edge, eager to uncover the secrets behind Smithy's eerie experiences.

While I would have gladly given this story five stars for its captivating plot and characters, the constant interruptions created by the disjointed narrative structure held me back.

Thank you for the advanced copy!

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Smithy returns, once again in epistolary form, in this sequel set a short while after the events of the first novel. Moving from the old manor setting of the first to a research laboratory, we follow the signing chimp as he adjusts to his new confines and begins to exhibit signs that perhaps a dark entity may have followed him to his new home.

A good, creepy follow up to the original, if a bit heavy in courtroom drama in the back half of the book. Highly recommended, must read the first however!

**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Inkshares and Netgalley**

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I was so intrigued by the blur band the unique spin on a horror tale. But this was slow, too slow. I tried to slog through so much unnecessary tangents but couldn't do it. Would love to read a more condensed version with a quicker pace.

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