Find Him Where You Left Him Dead

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Pub Date Sep 26 2023 | Archive Date Feb 27 2024

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Kristen Simmons's masterful breakout horror novel that's "Jumanji but Japanese-inspired" (Kendare Blake) about estranged friends playing a deadly game in a nightmarish folkloric underworld. This edition includes a beautiful foil case stamp.

“Twists, turns, and genuine palpable emotion.” —David Levithan • “Haunting and unforgettable.” —Melissa de la Cruz • “A nightmare I didn’t want to end.” —Terry J. Benton-Walker • “Absorbing.” —C. L. Herman • “Bone-chilling.” —Lauren Shippen • “Heart-pounding.” —Margaret Rogerson • “Twisted.” —Lish McBride • “Won't let me sleep!” —Chelsea Mueller • "Full of surprises." —C. J. Redwine • “Intense.” —Kendare Blake

Four years ago, five kids started a game. Not all of them survived.

Now, at the end of their senior year of high school, the survivors—Owen, Madeline, Emerson, and Dax—have reunited for one strange and terrible reason: they’ve been summoned by the ghost of Ian, the friend they left for dead.

Together they return to the place where their friendship ended with one goal: find Ian and bring him home. So they restart the deadly game they never finished—an innocent card-matching challenge called Meido. A game without instructions.

As soon as they begin, they're dragged out of their reality and into an eerie hellscape of Japanese underworlds, more horrifying than even the darkest folktales that Owen's grandmother told him. There, they meet Shinigami, an old wise woman who explains the rules:

They have one night to complete seven challenges or they'll all be stuck in this world forever.

Once inseparable, the survivors now can’t stand each other, but the challenges demand they work together, think quickly, and make sacrifices—blood, clothes, secrets, memories, and worse.

And once again, not everyone will make it out alive.


Kristen Simmons's masterful breakout horror novel that's "Jumanji but Japanese-inspired" (Kendare Blake) about estranged friends playing a deadly game...

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ISBN 9781250851123
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Average rating from 195 members

Featured Reviews

Wow! The world building in this book is phenomenal! The story is told in multiple viewpoints, which really keeps it moving. There are enough twists and thrills to keep you on the edge of your seat. Anyone who likes mythology will find the core storyline interesting. I highly recommend this one!

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Find Him Where You Left Him Dead is the best combination of Jumanji and The Forbidden Game. The stakes are real, the players are returning, and you might think you know how this story will end, but I promise you dont!

This story starts off introducing us to the four main characters. Characters who haven't seen one another in some time, however they quickly receive signs that they must come back to together to finish a game they started in their childhood. A game that they know has already claimed one of their friends. So this group reconvenes in order to finally finish the game and hopefully rescue their lost comrade.

This book is told from various perspectives and I really enjoyed that aspect. It kept the story quickly moving along and I never felt wanting for action because the action was uniquely dispersed among each character. This book is also twisty in a lot of ways. I loved that never really knew what was going to come next, whether it was the game components, the character alignments, the mysterious creators of the game or otherwise. Simmons kept me hooked by throwing me for twists and turns and that's another reason I really enjoyed it.

This book has a lot to offer a multitude of audiences but fans of thrillers and suspense junkies are going to love this.

Check it out!

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A well-written adventure story that will surely give chills to readers. The attention to detail is off the charts. The passion the author poured into the book can be felt throughout. It is action-packed from start to finish, so hold onto your seats.

For a story with multiple protagonists, I am pretty impressed that the spotlight is balanced on all. Everyone gets their chance to shine and no one gets left behind. The story is thrilling, a nail-biter of sorts, but I was really amazed with the twist. It was much unexpected and surely one to watch out for.

One thing I particularly did not like was how the chapters were divided. The book is very long with subplots that are not really connected with each other. Aside from that, I really enjoyed reading it. It is pulsating, straight to the point and realistic.

One part which is pretty nostalgic, is when the group starts the adventure and they get separated from each other (of course, they should be separated). It brought me back to my teen years when I daydreamed of having to go on an action-packed adventure with my friends and face various challenges and obstacles.

Two thumbs up for this book!

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Raw honest thoughts. These are my thoughts so please don't judge me.
Found this book on netgalley and was drawn to it by the blurb. Never heard of this author before at least I think I haven't. But any ways I requested it based off the blurb and I honestly actually really liked this book. Kept me pulled into it. 5 star book. I also highly recommend this book. Already told a few people that they need to read this book and I so hope they do. Will be planning out the next time I read this book. Loved the authors writting style. Also this book helped me through a rough patch recently

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This book gets compared to Jumanji a lot, and there is a definite similarity with it revolving around a game that takes place in an alternate, dangerous reality.
But make no mistake- Find Him Where You Left Him Dead is unlike ANYTHING you have ever read or watched before. It is not a single-genre book. This is part horror, part mystery, part coming of age, part thriller, and technically YA, though it oftentimes doesn’t feel like it. It’s dark, gory, fast-paced, and the story does a great job of blending elements from Japanese mythology while acknowledging their origin and also being unique in itself. It also is a beautiful representation of LGBTQ and bipoc characters, though I wouldn’t say it would fall under typical LGBTQ or bipoc categories.
Parts of the story could have been paced a little better, as some of it seemed rushed, but overall this was a solid read and I will absolutely be signing up for the second book in the series as soon as it’s written!

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Another Hit by Kristen Simmons! I’ve loved everything I’ve read from her and this is no different. So excited to have received an e-arc! Such a fun premise and was executed perfectly!

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The pace is breakneck. And I had a puzzled look on my face most of the time I was reading this crazy ride of a YA thriller for the panel discussion!

As everyone is billing it as a Japanese Jumanji, it's got a little flair like Marie Lu's Warcross too, and a little Ready Player One with the references as the non-friends who used to be friends come together once again to try to find Ian, one that had been lost to them years ago but who reappeared to them on an anniversary. The quest then begins back in the cave. They meet Shinigami, an old woman and are reintroduced to the card game Meido that they never finished playing when Ian was lost to them.

Dax, Maddy, Emerson, and Owen were on different paths and now their lives converge again with mind-games, visions of the past and future, collecting body parts/fragments (reminded me of of Milledge's Mamo), and deal-making where they must outsmart/outwit. I think Stranger Things fans, especially the darker newer episodes, will buckle in for this ride.

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This book was a really refreshing LGBTQ+ and racially diverse representation in the horror genre. The rep came naturally and wasn't a focal point of the story which is always needed. Super gory, fast-paced and intense. The coolest take on the Jumanji story!

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Wow! Great book! The characters were well described and came alive as I read this book. There were times I couldn't put it down. The mystery of the cards was great and the twist and turn of the game kept me guessing.

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I would immediately like to confirm that this is INDEED, Jumanji with the strongest horror vibes, and I loved every second of it. Big thank you NetGalley and to the publisher for the chance to review this book pre-release.

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I love the way mythology was used in this. I can't vouch for accuracy but I can vouch for coolness. It was explained really well and integrated in the store beautifully. I zoomed through this book. It starts with action and never really ends. The game is terrifying but super engaging.

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Like the game night from hell, Jumanji by way of Japanese mythology, “Find Him Where You Left Him Dead” starts with a bang and doesn’t let up. It’s a fresh, exciting horror fantasy unlike anything I’ve ever read. Owen, Maddy, Emerson and Dax lost their friend Ian 4 years ago after an excursion into a cave went wrong. Now they begin seeing Ian again and reunite to try to finally figure out what happened to their friend and what occurred that night in the cave. What transpires is an adventure like none other that will terrifying and thrill you. I couldn’t put it down and I can’t recommend it highly enough. What a breath of fresh air to see mythologies that aren’t always explored. More of this please. Would love more books in this vain. And definitely gonna keep this author on my radar. Thank you Netgalley for this ARC

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Terrifying and exhilarating! Simmons deftly weaves Japanese mythology and urban legends with a "Jumanji"-esque tale of friendship, loyalty, and love. Perfect for teens who love gaming, manga, or just a thrilling story!

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What can I say Kristen Simmons has done it again. When I read the blurb that compared this to Jumanji I thought... ohhh interesting... let's see what this is about!

I don't know much of anything about Japanese Folklore so I'm not sure where Simmon's story rates on an authenticity level but I will say that I was absolutely enthralled with finding out where it would go. From the get go I could see why it was compared to Jumanji and it had me turning pages as fast as I could to see what the "game" would throw at these teens next and how they would handle it, and if you are a fan of horror I think you're going to absolutely love what Simmon's does here.

The characters and their relationships just felt completely authentic and true and I honestly never saw the ending coming ... let's hope there's another book in the works!!

Thank you to TOR for an early copy!

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A little bit of Jumanji meets Stranger Things in this Japanese folklore inspired scavenger hunt meant to return what was once lost.

“Find Him Where You Left Him” reunites a group four years after tragedy when the spirit of their missing friend returns asking that they find him before dawn. In a series of quests and cruel games the group must face monsters, each other and finally the truth of what happened the first time they played and with the hope that all will make it out alive.

I know bits and pieces of Japanese mythology/folklore so the representation here I can’t speak to in terms of how accurate it may or may not have been but I truly loved every second we spent going through the levels and meeting the other players and monsters that we meet along the way. Each new task was interesting as it paired almost the stages of grief and vulnerability this group was going through and needed to pass in order to have the strength to recover.

I really loved every character and some of their moments were heartbreaking as they try to piece together what happened the first time and what old relationships meant in the after that fracture. The little jokes that stir shame and guilt rather than joy verse the childlike innocence they once had that had now soured in the face of betrayal and death was very well done.

I really enjoyed every second of this and was surprised at how quickly I tore through it trying to reach the ending and I hope to see more from not only this world but the author in the future.

*special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**

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Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Publishing for this opportunity to read rate and review this arc which will be available Sept 26,2023.

Ok first things first this read to me like it was a horror novel. It was insidious creepy and edge of your seat anxiety fest. I bloody LOVED it.

4 yrs ago 5 kids started a game. Not all of them survived.

Now seniors in high school the 4 survivors have reunited for one reason: the ghost of their dead friend is summoning them to finish the game and bring him home. They are dragged out of our world and into a hell scape of Japanese underworlds that are more horrifying than the stories told to them.

Sounds freaking awesome right? Well it was and it was well written! Go pre order this Horror fans!

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How can I express the ways I enjoyed this book?

I was so eager to read this book, being I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Jumanji, and it didn't disappoint. The book follows the story of four estranged friends, when the ghost of their old friend, summons them to return to the game that resulted in their friend dying four years ago.

I loved each of the individual characters. They were well-fleshed out, and I found the story moved through their individual POVs seamlessly. The author had such a gift for imagery. The descriptions of all the scary things the teenagers faced in the game was incredibly well-written and vivid. Definitely sent chills up my spine. The exploration of Japanese mythology, the identity issues around being biracial, the emphasis of loyalty in friendships, all of that was done super well!

Would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone!

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Wow, I should of seen those twists coming but I didn't. This book did not disappoint. I was glad we got to see pov from all the characters. And as a person who loves morally grey characters, Dax was definitely my favorite.

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this had what I was looking for from Kristen Simmons and the description. The plot has what I was looking for from this type of book. This had a great horror element and I was hooked from the tagline "Jumanji but Japanese-inspired" and it worked well. I enjoyed the characters and getting to know them. I can't wait to read more from Kristen Simmons.

"He said, finish the game.” She blew out a thin breath. “I don’t know. He was on the other side of the pool. It was hard to hear. I-I thought it was a prank at first, but he was there. Did you see something tonight?” she asked Dax. “Yeah,” he said. “But it wasn’t Ian.”

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First book that I’ve read by Kristen and I really liked it! When I saw the cover, I knew I needed to read this book. It definitely gave Jumanji vibes. I couldn’t put this book down. It was so different then the books I’ve been reading recently and I really enjoyed it!

Thank you NetGalley, Tor/Forge and Kristen Simmons for the ARC!

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I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Jumanji, but with a mythological undertone and an underground setting.
The type of fantastic horror novel that I can't put down but also keeps me up at night!
With this one, Kristen Simmons successfully nails the proper note between heart-wrenching friendships and bone-chilling horror.

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This book is probably my favorite of this year. So much yokai folklore and unexpected bits that made this book a hard one to put down. All I'll say is, there better be more in the future and I'll definitely be reading if so!

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