Smithy, Book 2
by Amanda Desiree
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Pub Date 20 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 13 Feb 2024
In the summer of 1974, in a derelict Rhode Island mansion called Trevor Hall, a team of scientists taught American Sign Language to a chimpanzee. They affectionately christened their subject “Smithy.” His official name was Webster.
The Smithy Project ended in tragedy, some believing that a dark presence inside Trevor Hall had been disturbed. Webster was acquired by CSAM, a research lab in California run by the iron-fisted Manfried Teague. CSAM had a reputation for sullen staff, gloomy conditions, and cruel experiments. Despite this, two of Webster’s original researchers, Jeff Dalton and Ruby Cardini, followed him west, determined to look after their friend.
But another entity followed the chimp as well, and in the waning years of the 1970s, “Webster” became synonymous with a menagerie of inexplicable events, strange social movements, curious legal cases, and chilling courtroom testimonies. All were haunted by the question left unanswered at Trevor Hall: Had Webster not only bridged the gap between man and animal, but between this world and the next?
Praise for Smithy:
"This original haunted house tale, with a unique plot and compellingly vivid characters, moves from uneasy to creepy to all-out 'keep the lights on' terror." ―Library Journal, starred review
"A heartbreaking, terrifying experiment in slow-burn horror. You will believe in Smithy." ―Scott Thomas, author of Kill Creek
"Smithy is a compelling freezer burn of a book I'm still thinking about days later." ―Kaaron Warren, author of Tide of Stone and Slights
"Inventively told and utterly original, Smithy is a startlingly good debut and one that announces the arrival of a serious horror talent. Keep an eye on Amanda Desiree. She's a major rising star." ―Gwendolyn Kiste, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens and The Invention of Ghosts
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 20 members
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**
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.
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.
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!