Cover Image: Ignore the Dead: An Existential Horror Novel

Ignore the Dead: An Existential Horror Novel

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If you are into bleak horror that keeps you guessing, this is the book for you! As the synopsis says, "there are fates worse than dying." I loved how descriptive this book was, without feeling bogged down by extraneous details at the same time. The story definitely surprised me and pulled on my heart strings more than once. I will say, cancer is a heavy theme in this book, so if that is a trigger you may want to reconsider. It was hard for me in parts with having lost several family members to the disease, but it was well worth the read.

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for this ARC. I am leaving this review voluntarily and all views expressed are my own.

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As someone deeply intrigued by tales that probe the darker corners of human existence, I eagerly picked up "Ignore the Dead" by Jay Sizemore, and I can confidently say it exceeded all my expectations. This chilling narrative delves into the depths of mortality, weaving a haunting tale of desperation, terror, and the eerie unknown.

Set in the small town of Clarkson, Kentucky, the story follows Richard Chandler, a man grappling with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Sizemore wastes no time plunging readers into Richard's harrowing journey, as he contemplates the unthinkable in the wake of his devastating diagnosis. However, his plans for self-termination are abruptly interrupted by a mysterious stranger offering him a chance to cheat death itself.

What unfolds is a tale of existential dread and supernatural horror, as Richard is thrust into a world where mortality takes on a chilling new meaning. The narrative is a mesmerizing blend of fiction and introspection, exploring the fragile boundary between life and death, and the secrets lurking beneath the surface of ordinary existence.

Sizemore's prose is nothing short of stunning, evoking a range of emotions from heartbreak to terror with each turn of the page. The imagery is vivid and evocative, painting a gritty yet striking portrait of small-town life and the sinister forces at play within it. While the exploration of cancer may be difficult for some readers, Sizemore handles the topic with sensitivity and depth, adding layers of complexity to Richard's character and the overarching narrative.

Speaking of characters, Richard is a truly captivating protagonist, flawed yet undeniably human in his struggles and desires. Sizemore's talent for character development shines through, drawing readers into Richard's world and keeping them engaged from start to finish.

As the story unfolds, I found myself on the edge of my seat, unsure of where the narrative would lead next. Sizemore masterfully navigates the twists and turns of the plot, keeping readers guessing until the very end. The blend of horror and introspection creates a palpable sense of tension and unease, making for a truly immersive reading experience.

In conclusion, "Ignore the Dead" is a mesmerizing exploration of mortality and the supernatural, infused with Sizemore's trademark blend of stunning prose and gripping storytelling. It's a book that will linger in your mind long after you've turned the final page, leaving you haunted by its powerful imagery and thought-provoking themes. If you're a fan of horror that delves into the depths of the human psyche, this is a must-read.

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I loved the premise and was excited to read the book. I found parts of it to be a bit confusing, especially towards the end. Overall, I enjoyed the story and writing.

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This was an interesting concept and solid storyline while the beginning was strong, the characters and plot did not resonate and my interest quickly fizzled out. The writing has an ethereal quality with its poetic similies and metaphors unfortunately the bombastic writing style didn’t mesh well for me, as it came off as pretentious due to the blatant & severe overuse of a thesaurus.

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Note: I received a free unpublished proof of this book, for a limited time, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.

Ignore the Dead is an interesting short horror novel about illness, death, grief, and morality. I don’t want to say too much about it because it is only about 200 pages long, possibly less in the print copy depending on text size, spacing, and margins. It might qualify as a novella under some publishers’ and award schemes’ definitions.

Overall, I liked this one. The general idea has been done before, but I thought the way the story unfolded was interesting. The book was light on characterization and world-building but the reader gets a good idea of who the characters are as people. It’s satisfying for what it is.

The book’s underlying themes about grief and capitalism were very relevant and well-expressed. I think it could have been taken a step further in some parts but there is definitely some food for thought here.

While I recommend this book, due to the content I only recommend it to adults (18+). Content includes cancer, gore, violence against sex workers, graphic depictions of worms, and general violence and killing.

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Richard watched his beloved wife die of cancer years before, and now Richard faces the same journey when he is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He begins chemotherapy, loses the ability to eat, gains nourishment through a tube. Richard wants to live.
Out of the blue a stranger calls and offers Richard a cure, the Blade of Ka. There are consequences to this cure and Richard, being a good man with a conscience, finds himself in an existential dilemma. The Blade of Ka can rid him of his cancer, but when touched gives Richard the ability to see the dead. The dead are everywhere and they each have a story. Unfortunately one such story haunts Richard and sets him on a path to right a wrong and once he takes this path he cannot turn back.
Ignore the Dead is a creeper of a tale. Perhaps ignorance really is bliss and we should let nature take its course. We, the living, don’t know for sure what the afterlife brings. I do hope it brings something better than eternal hunger.
Thank you #netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review #IgnoreTheDead. It is not a happy book, but the story certainly gets under the skin.

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Sadly, I couldn't get into this book. I don't know what exactly happened, but it took me a very long time to read. I did finish it, but never fully got into it.

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(I received this book from the editor and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

(I received this book from the editor and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
I must admit I started reading this book with fear already in my bones because of the topic. I was not quite sure what to expect about a horror book dealing with cancer as it centre, but I think the result was quite interesting in the end.
Poetic and extremely introspective, it was quite unique to be able to read about what Richard was thinking regarding the illness and the strange, horrifying way in which he could be rid of it. It just did not entirely click with me, though. I knew there would be some supernatural elements, but the villainous part did not hit as expected.
Once finished, after navigating twists and turns and some very bleak moments, the sensation did not perdure as I thought. An interesting and different reading, nonetheless.

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My biggest complaint about this book is that I wish it had been longer and that I knew more about the people. I thought the story was going to be predictable, and then I was like "Whoa!" a couple of times. I enjoyed being surprised.
The story was definitely horrific, which was exactly what I wanted.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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What I love about Sizemore's work is how much it makes you think about serious, philosophical questions. I read Apnea, then Ignore The Dead. This one deals with a similar theme: How does one handle a terrible diagnosis. This book asks the question, if you could give away your cancer, would you? I lost my grandmother to complications caused by cancer treatment (she battled for years) when I was 13. She mostly raised me, and I'm not sure what I would tell her if someone offered her the deal Richard got.

The imagery in this book is incredibly powerful. He made it impossible to ignore the dead, and the way he describes each persons "jellyfish" is very dreamlike. I highly recommend this grim, beautiful novel. It will definitely fill you with existential dread.

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I really enjoyed the horror elements to this book, it had everything that I was hoping for from the description. The characters worked in this universe and I was invested in their story. Jay Sizemore has a great writing style for this type of book and I enjoyed getting through it.

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This book was beautifully written yet a fever dream at the same time. I loved every minute of it. Richard is dying of cancer, he lost his wife to disease so he knows the ins and outs of what's in store. A mysterious man offers him a way to beat it but there are rules. One of which is to ignore the dead...yep it doesn't go to plan. Read it!

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"Ignore the dead.
If they suspect that you see them, they may try and communicate. It's best for your sanity if you do not allow them this suspicion. Consider this a warning."

Another super-duper horror book by an author who knows how to wield his vocabulary like a weapon. The storyline is about a man who's dying of cancer, and has been given a second chance at life, but only if he's willing to give his cancer to others. My father died of cancer three years ago, so this book was a bit difficult to read at first. However, the character of dying, desperate Richard quickly took off in my head, and thankfully I was able to separate my lived reality from this fictional one.

This book is about much more than a disease, it's about the other reality that lies just below the surface of the living. There are some powerfully charged scenes in the book that would make for great cinematography. I am impressed with the writing in this book, and I will definitely be on the lookout for more by this author!

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Hard to read at times, bleak, but very real. An excellent story line and very well written. I read it in one day. Excellent prose.

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This book hit super close to home for me. As someone whose mom is battling cancer, I so wish there was a “magic cure” for it. And while she’s in remission, I wish from the beginning there was something that could have been done to avoid everything she’s gone through.

This book was so incredibly bleak, heartbreaking, dark, and beautiful wrapped together.

Jay did an amazing job at being so descriptive, and his writing was absolutely beautiful. The imagery from how he described everything was absolutely TOP TIER.

I found myself totally enveloped in the story, and seeing how it progressed, seeing how Richard progressed through the story, too. And, I have to say, by the end of the story, my mind was blown, and my head was spinning because this is not how I saw it all ending at all, nor was it how I saw Richard being in the end

If you’re looking for a book that’s bleak, but will keep you interested through the entirety of the book, will have you on the edge of your seat, and screaming WTF at least a hundred times, I cannot suggest this book enough

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Thank you NetGalley and publisher for allowing me to read this novel. I was sucked in at the beginning and was very excited about this book, but a few chapters in it kind of takes on a philosophical feel. There’s an abundance of strongly worded metaphors and similes that would take over large portions of the chapters and it was overkill for me. It made it feel the reader was being preached at rather than being told a story. The references made were accurate, I just feel they took away from the story. I felt ready for it to end about midway through. I finished it and and appreciate the opportunity to rate and review.

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Ignore The Dead:An Existential Horror Novel by Jay Sizemore
Reviewed by Rutendo Chitondwe
Ignore The Dead is an existential horror novel that delves into the eerie realm of paranormal encounters while simultaneously exploring the anxieties and uncertainties faced by cancer patients as well as the emotional strain endured by their doctors administering treatment.

The narrative is set in Clarkson Kentucky, a diminutive town where progress moves at an unhurried pace. Nevertheless, the static environment accommodates the author's intention by creating an otherworldly ambiance for the book. For instance, the woods provide an ideal location for spectral apparitions to manifest and embark on a predatory rampage against the living.

Richard Chandler,the protagonist of the account is plagued by cancer and is on the verge of death,a similar fate that swallowed his wife while he stood by helplessly until her last breath.He completely turns a deaf ear to Dr Pinchot who offers the same treatment that was administered to his late wife Amy but failed to save her life.It is on this note that one can argue that Richard blamed the doctors and their vain medicine for his wife’s death,leading to him not having any faith in their medical solutions curing him of his ailment,thus making him embrace the inevitability of death instead.The author cements this idea by nicknaming the doctor,Dr Pinocchio,indicating that the main character regarded the doctor a liar,who just prolonged his life on the basis of sugar coated lies and pain killers that delivered him faster into the jaws of death faster than the cancer itself.

In an attempt to put an end to his painstakingly miserable life,Richard lands himself in a spooky ordeal after a mysterious call from one D’Artagnan Deveureux who offers him ‘a ticket to freedom’ from cancer, through the mystical yet mysterious blade of Ka.A knife like object that rid Richard of the cancer through transference to other poor unsuspecting victims.All was well,ironically speaking until he fumbled one simple rule,which was to ignore the dead.
His failure to pay no attention to the dead during transference completely turns his life into a waking nightmare.Claire,his deceased prostitute friend reels him into a world of chaos as she establishes communication with him seeking to be avenged after being raped by one of his trusted friends.It is quite ironic how the deceased refused any interference from Richard whilst she was still alive but needed him to seek retribution for her in death.It seems as if other ghosts took advantage of this line of communication to be avenged as well.This is evidenced by the storyline of Heather who shared an almost similar fate with the latter,shared how she ended up dead in a coffin and was somewhat grateful to the protagonist for murdering Jacob Wilson,the sociopath that had a bizarre urge to murder prostitutes or ‘lot lizards’ as they called them.
Furthermore,Richard neglected isolation which in turn cost him his new lease of life which came in the form of Holly Simms.The care giver nurse,who also happens to be the only woman he paid attention to after a Amy’s death.He couldn’t bear the fact that he had unknowingly transferred a little of the the remaining cancer to her and killed her to save her from the painful ailment and the betrayal as she was under the impression that she had found happiness in,and with Richard after her last divorce.

The narrative takes a shocking turn of events,as Richard’s atheism may have kept him from the Lord’s sight but protected him from the fraud Pastor James who spread the curse of the blade into the Chandler family through Amy who also deferred the isolation rule thus leading to her accidentally transferring cancer to her husband.

The author employs bone chilling diction to create a terror-like ambience for readers.He also couples this with the use of irony in most instances to create a sense of dark humor adding to the eerie feel of the book.

Apart from the above mentioned subject(s) Jay Sizemore takes this is a chance to highlight certain issues that affect cancer patients and the world around them.For instance he discusses how pharmaceuticals cash in on cancer patients by manufacturing drugs that do more harm than good to cancer patients.
In addition he goes on to point out the need for counselling services to both cancer patients and their families to help them get through this delicate ordeal whilst keeping their mental balance in check.
In summation the horror audience have been endowed a bone chilling piece to revel in with life changing lessons to draw from.

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Read from November 15th, 2023 to November 27th, 2023. Written on November 27th, 2023.


Took me a while, but I finally finished this book! And what a journey it was! Jay Sizemore's second book was so freaking good, I am in awe. The story was absolutely insane, full of interesting turns and twists and a very good amount of horror to it. Chef's kiss!

I do have to say, it was somewhat hard to follow at times but I quickly caught up with the book. The writing was incredibly impressive, with some of my favourite lines ever read in a book. This book got me hooked from the start, and I loved every second of it, from the funny moments to the 'ew' moments (also, 'ew' in the best way possible, the horror was so well incorporated into the story). And that ending!? I have to reread it to make sure I read it correctly

For someone who has had a familiar with cancer, this hit incredibly close to home and it just reminded me of how terrifying it can be. It was so incredibly well portrayed, my salute to the author for that because I know it can be hard to write about cancer, especially in this way. Massive respect.

Also, mega love to Senna for having that name. (I'm a major Formula 1 fan so...yeah).

Read it and gasp, this book is fenomenal. Thanks to the author and NetGalley for the ARC!

Signing off,

(Free ARC from NetGalley and Jay Sizemore that I chose to review after reading)

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Thank you Netgalley and Jay Sizemore for the ARC of Ignore the Dead.

If you are looking for a book that sits with you for a while, leaving you thinking what exists outside the realms of our sight. Jay, will give you this and more! The story is centred around Richard, who has recently been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Just 5 years previously, he lost his wife to the disease, he thinks about ending it all rather than prolonging the inevitable. His suicide attempt gets interrupted by a phone call from a mysterious man who seems to know what Richard is planning. This man, can offer a way out, and all he has to do is touch an ancient knife, give his cancer away and ignore the dead.

From here on in, there is a build up of terror,. It seeps into your very bones and the gaps in between.. It leaves you feeling itchy, that crawling sensation of someone boring their eyes into the back of your skull. Jay paints a wonderfully creepy and colourful picture of what may lay behind our mortality and death. The narrative from beginning to end grabs you completely and I loved how it was written. The depiction of our souls and how they are affected by others was beautiful, scary but beautiful which ties into the wonderful artwork of this book.

I also loved the way there was another storyline tied into what Richard is experiencing, the little twists and I didn't see the ending coming. This is the first book of Jay's that I've read and ill be actively reading more in the future
A solid 5 Stars

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I was drawn to this book because of the cancer storyline. I have stage 2 breast cancer. I thought it would be a great way to process the news. I easily got sucked into rte beginning. I couldn’t stop reading. But then the writing just didn’t work for me. I had to keep stopping to look up the words I’ve never heard of before and it messed with the flow.

I did finish the book though. I’m glad I did stick around for the twist I didn’t see coming. Thank you, NetGalley for the ebook.

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