Cover Image: THE DEAD PENNIES

THE DEAD PENNIES

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

A really chilling read! I absolutley loved this thought the prose was haunting, need to read more by this author for sure

Was this review helpful?

Omg! What a fantastic, chilling experience! I absolutely will recommend this to all . 5 stars across the board

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book by Robert Ford. This was my first book by the author and it was a great introduction! I enjoyed the story, the characters, and while the pacing was slow at times it felt fitting. Can't wait to read more from the author!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley and publisher for an arc ♥️
In “The Dead Pennies,” Robert Ford delivers a gripping and intense crime thriller that immerses readers in the gritty underbelly of small-town America. The story follows ex-con Mickey O’Hara, who returns to his hometown of Ash Falls, Virginia, seeking redemption and a fresh start. Instead, Mickey finds himself entangled in a web of corruption, violence, and family secrets.
One of the standout aspects of “The Dead Pennies” is its well-developed cast of characters. Mickey O’Hara is a complex and flawed protagonist, haunted by his past mistakes and struggling to find purpose. The supporting characters, such as Mickey’s cousin, Derek, and the enigmatic crime boss, Grim, add depth and intrigue to the narrative.
The Dead Pennies is a gripping and intense crime thriller that will appeal to fans of the genre. With its well-crafted characters, intricate plot, and gritty atmosphere.

Was this review helpful?

Could not download and unable to provide accurate feedback. Was looking forward to reading this one.

Was this review helpful?

Wow. Really enjoyed this book by Robert Ford. First time reading him, and will definitely need to read more from him. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and the pacing. #THEDEADPENNIES #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

Compared to Robert Ford's previous books, this is quite a different reading experience. My initial thought was that it was a bit of a slow burn, but really, a better way of putting it would be to say it feels more like the calm before the storm kind of read. About 75% calm, if I'm being honest. And that's a lot. If this was a 500 page chunker, I probably would have DNF'd it, but saying that... it's Robert Ford. I do trust his work. There is always a shift in the narrative somewhere that's going to hit hard in some kind of way. And the pay off here is worth it.

The characters do have a certain grit to them. I appreciated that. There's an edge to them. You feel something genuinely lingering in their minds. It's intriguing enough. After finishing an audiobook called Fay by Larry Brown, it sat quite nicely as a follow on.

I am still in two minds of how much I enjoyed this as a whole, though.

It's well written. No two ways about it. It's not a boring read by any means. It's just sort of coasting for a shade too long.

What I will say is that I did kind of find it refreshing to see Robert Ford tackling unfamiliar ground as well, though. He usually throws it all at you pretty quickly. So, to take a step back and approach a story in this way was admirable.


THE DEAD PENNIES could, and should earn him some new fans. I'd love to see that happen. He's one of the best out there. I'll always read his work.
Always.

I think 3.5 stars out of 5 sits about right, but for Goodreads and Amazon, I am happy to round this one up to 4. As with Netgalley.

I also have to say, I purchased this book, even though I got this from Netgalley.

Was this review helpful?

The story was intriguing. It has its creepy parts, but the end felt like rushed. Overall, I enjoyed reading it, but I'd warn those who can be triggered by Child abuse and Domestic violence.

Was this review helpful?

The Dead Pennies is about a girl who is running from an abusive relationship and offers to stay at an old school that is being covered to apartments for a friend. But she was never told the truth of the buildings history. Normally these types of books don’t scare me but there was a trope that always freaks me out that crawled its way in. It did take a while to get into the beginning stuff but once I hit the halfway mark things really started happening. The ending took a turn I didn’t see coming but it made sense in the end.

Was this review helpful?

I’ve recently begun to enjoy reading horror and judging by the cover, I thought this one would be good. Sadly, it had potential that wasn’t realized.

Abby, running away from an abusive relationship with Nick, stops to meet an old school friend, Hayden. When Hayden offers Abby the chance to live in a building being renovated by his Uncle Jack, it seems too good to be true. Mired in legal issues, the building contains one renovated and fully furnished apartment where Abby can stay free of cost, while serving as a caretaker of sorts. What she doesn’t know is that the building, known as the Lofts, is the site of the old Harper’s Grove facility for children, a place where terrible things once occurred.

But otherworldly horrors are not the only evil that beset her life. Nick is looking for her, and when he finds her, there’ll be hell to pay.

The story, divided into Books One and Two, took a while to grab me. While most of the chapters were short and a quick read, the first few chapters were mostly fluff. The opening chapter with the homeless man, Denny, did a better job of pulling me into the story, but then the focus shifted to Abby, and I found myself losing interest.

Until page 36, the book still hadn’t sunk its teeth into the plot. It was only at page 40 that we got within touching distance of the plot, and page 54 when things began to get interesting.



The author was good at descriptions, but the characters weren’t convincing or even likeable. There was no real character development.

The main character Abby was rather stupid. Running away with a mannequin makes no sense. Also, I’ll never understand why characters drink so much, especially when they are all alone in a creepy building.

Abby’s thoughts were very self-consicous. The chemistry between Abby and Hayden was tepid. I’m not talking about sexual chemistry. Even as friends, their conversations were tepid. I cringed each time she addressed him as Hayseed.

The dialogue was tedious. The humour was not only not funny, it was also rather crass, and centred on distasteful and horrible subjects such as paedophilia, child abuse and pornography.

As horror goes, the real horror awaits us in Book Two, which takes us to 1964, when the most unwanted children of the town face further abuse at the hands of the system in Harper’s Grove, particularly at the hands of Dr Ray Dobsen, the doctor, and Carl, the attendant. These kids are the dead pennies of the title.



It appears that the author has a major beef with the Catholic Church. The priest at the seminary, Fr Walker, uses disrespectful language like “tossing around some holy water”. Such dismissal of his own faith and beliefs by a Catholic priest is unbelievable.

Another time Fr Walker tells Abby, “Sometimes you need some evil shit to fight evil shit.” What on earth is that supposed to mean?

When Fr Walker prays over Abby’s building, the prayer is written in lower case, reflecting the beliefs of the author, it appears, rather than those of a Catholic priest.



The writing wasn’t bad, but the book would have benefited from the services of a good editor. Hayden gets a pair of forks, when two forks would have worked just fine. Forks don’t come in pairs.

At one point, Hayden addressed Abby as Lucy.

It was also rather coincidental that Cora Jean Myers who worked as an aide at Harper’s Grove in 1964 should be a Myers, the same surname as her supervisor, Miss Myers, even though they aren’t related. Why not come up with two different surnames?

Abby is running away from Philadelphia, so I couldn’t understand the constant references to Australia and Aussies.



The conclusion left me feeling dissatisfied. The focus shifted from the tragedy of the children to the two men in Abby’s life. We don’t get closure on any of the children or Dr Dobsen or Miss Myers or Diane. We don’t even know how Cora Jean managed her family’s financial problems after the facility closes downThe issue of Dr Dobsen and Carl needed deeper resolution. Uncle Jack received short shrift.

Was this review helpful?

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are my own opinions.

I can't stress how much I loved this book. It is one of those books you really don't want to put down until you get to the very end. You root for the characters, but understand the pennies, too. Sadly, their story is not a thing of fiction, but a very real way of life for the patients. I think that's what makes almost uncomfortable to read, that children did live in similar asylums in similar conditions

Great book, 5 stars

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

3.75 rounded up to 4 since Netgalley doesn't have decimal options.

*Please note that my StoryGraph review is slightly different as it contains spoilers and spoilers can be hidden there but not on Netgalley so I had to rework some things for clarity.

Jumping into things with a summary. There are three books in this novel, 2 that follow Abby and the other one follows Cora Jean. We are watching as Abby leaves an abusive ex and ends up moving to a town with her friend Hayden after being told that she will have a luxury apartment for free while work on the units are stalled. She immediately encounters a creepy guy and weird things start to happen. You move through this book trying to figure out the reason behind the weird things happening.

This was a hard one to rate, I finished it yesterday and had to sleep on it. The writing, very engaging, the story concept, intriguing, and the predictability... high.

The predictability and the friends-to-lover subplot are truly the only reasons that this book didn't make it into my 4-star tier. Its slow to start but once you hit the 30%ish, things pick up and its hard to put down. There is no denying that the author has talent, I will be picking up another of his novels, but that talent comes with a little downfall because he did really well laying breadcrumbs that made it easier to expect what to happen. With that being said, I don't think that is a bad thing at all, that is always the hope when reading, but I was anticipating this really big twist at the end, thanks to reading some spoiler-free reviews, and it didn't land as a twist because of those breadcrumbs. I'm more surprised that so many others found it to be shocking.

Before getting into that though, this book felt like it had HEAVY Conjuring influence. If that's not you're vibe, maybe stay away from this one. Between the spirits, hauntings/ death, and religious influence in this book, it really was a copy-paste, change a few things, and keep pushing moment. For me, this was fine, I'm a horror movie fan and have seen and enjoyed the entire Conjuring universe to varying extents. Just be mindful going in. As with basically all horror things, check the trigger warning before going in.

I'm struggling to offer all of my thoughts without spoilers so hopefully, this paragraph makes sense, sorry if it doesn't 🫠
Okay, back to the big twist, which I'd say has two parts. Both are 👀 in their own way. I said before I wasn't shocked BUT I didn't 100% fully guess either part of this big twist. Let's just say, obsession makes people do wild things and in this case, I'm fine saying justice was served. Thanks to the dead pennies for that one. Additionally, this story has 2 romance subplots and I'd argue that neither was necessary to advance the plot but just to add some additional spicy for character development. Sometimes writers just wanna be mean to their characters and man did Abby go through it in this book.

Has anyone checked in on Robert? Is he doing okay? Robert, who hurt you?

Anyway, a really good read if you need something to round out your spooky/ fall season.

Was this review helpful?

Fleeing an abusive relationship, Abby ends up caretaker of an up and coming high end apartment complex. She believes the building used to be an old school, until along with her friend Hayden, she discovers it was a home for sick and unwanted children known as the Dead Pennies. Abby and Hayden have to figure out why the ghosts of the children want vengeance, while navigating around Abby's ex that is intent on getting her back.

I really enjoyed the concept of this book. Abby and Hayden were enjoyable characters to read about. It is a slow burn horror that takes it time building up characters, storylines, and overall tension only to let loose in the final act.The overall story kept me engaged, but it was such a slow burn that the ending felt a little bit rushed. Sill, Ford did a great job on the overall buildup, he just didn't quite stick the landing.

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

Was this review helpful?

Holy crap! This goes from a softer, more atmospheric horror to full speed gruesome goodness.

Most of the book is build up - it builds up characters and an eerie and heartbreaking backstory. Then, in the final section of the book it's...horror on crack.

I loved our characters, though I was thoroughly shocked by more than one. I won't say that I loved what happened with one of them, but it all made sense.

Definitely a good read!

Was this review helpful?

Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Enjoyment: 4/5
Scary: 3/5

Themes: Horror

The Dead Pennies is about a girl who is running from an abusive relationship and offers to stay at an old school that is being coverted to appartments for a friend. But she was never told the truth of the buildings haunting history. I am not going to lie, I got a few nightmares from this book. Normally these types of books don’t scare me but there was a trope that always freaks me out that crawled its way in. It did take a while to push through the begginging stuff but once I hit the halfway mark things really started happening. The ending took a turn I didn’t see coming but it made sense in the end. I noticed there were other books by this author and they are on KU so I will be reading those.

I received an arc an am leaving an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The majority of this book kept me interested and i sped through it.. It was an overall easy read for me. There were some great eerie and atmospheric parts that i really enjoyed. The book got a little weak for me towards the end and character development seemed a bit dull, Please check trigger warnings. because some of the subjects can be very upsetting. Even though i was a little unsatisfied with the ending, i do recommend this book- it was a quick and easy read with some decent horror elements.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley for this read in return for an honest review.
This book is scary but also horrifying so please mind the trigger warnings.
I found the story intriguing and I wanted to know how it ended only to find it felt flat.
It kind of felt rushed at the end and got lazy with the story. But overall I did like it.
#deadpennies
#netgalley

Overall 3/5 ⭐️

Was this review helpful?

"After leaving an abusive relationship, Abby visits an old friend on her way to her mother’s in Florida. Hayden’s Uncle Jack is renovating a building into high-end apartments in town, and with the lure of living rent-free in a beautiful loft, Abby becomes the caretaker with the entire building all to herself. Abby hears strange sounds in the building. Shadows move as if they’re alive. Led to believe the structure was previously a school, Abby is told by the last living employee of Harper’s Grove that the building used to be a home for the infirm and unwanted children, the Dead Pennies of society, unfit for circulation. Abby and Hayden search for the cause of the strange events at Harper’s Grove, and find out why the spirits of the dead children won’t sleep until they get vengeance. But there’s also another evil at play—this one of a human nature. Abby’s ex-boyfriend, Nick, finds out where she has run off to. He won’t stop for anything until she’s back in his clutches, but Nick doesn’t expect to come up against the raging spirits of the Dead Pennies."

So much kudos for the master that is The Dead Pennies. Beginning off slow at deeply atmospheric giving a very eerie and creepy vibes, then each section building in fear right until the very end. The plot itself was a bit choppy at times, but it in no way took away from the reading experience. The Dead Pennies is the perfect quick and spooky paranormal read for your October Spooky Season reads - or a great fill in all rounder throughout the year. Great for fans of Hadassah Shiradski, William Friend and Duncan Ralston.

Go in blind to this one, you'll have a greater experience. Do check trigger warnings too - as there are quite a few that may need to be recognised.

Thank you to NetGalley, Cemetery Dance Publications & Robert Ford for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

4 Stars!

Cemetery Dance has been a publisher of dark fiction for a long time and has been among my favorite publishers for a long time. Many of their writers are at the top of their genre and their books are always high-quality reads. I was not familiar with Robert Ford, but I was immediately intrigued by his new novel, The Dead Pennies, with its creepy cover and menacing title so I knew I had to give it read hoping for a scary read.



When Abby finally leaves her abusive boyfriend, she is hoping for a better life. As she travels to stay with her mother, which she is not looking forward to due to their tumultuous relationship, she decides to stop and visit her old friend Hayden. Hayden’s uncle is renovating an old building to turn into luxury apartments and offers Abby a place to stay, rent free, while the construction on the building is paused. There is only one apartment done and she would have the building to herself. It seems like the perfect place for her to start her new life. The dream arrangements, however, would soon turn into a nightmare.



The Dead Pennies is a very good supernatural horror novel. Robert Ford starts the novel off at a slow simmer with Abby escaping from her abusive boyfriend, Nick, and getting established in her new home. Of course, the reader knows there is more to the building than she believes when she moves in and Ford slowly unfolds the story. There is a strong mixture of religion and plenty of time is given to establishing the horrors that occurred in the building in the past that has led to it being haunted in the future. The story is very heavy on atmosphere and reads like a gothic horror novel. Abby is almost frantic as she tries to unravel the mystery of the building’s history and sense of doom hangs over the story, growing stronger with every page. Everything is done to near perfection and the reader is primed for an explosive ending.



It is the climax, though, that ultimately keeps this novel from reaching its potential. Without giving away any spoilers, Ford brings an element into the story that I found to be a distraction from the core story of the Dead Pennies and their revenge. The ending is brutal in its violence and had plenty of shock value, but it just did not seem to fit the rest of the story. It came off seeming a bit cluttered and overdone. It almost felt as if Ford wanted to tie up some loose ends from a couple different story elements and instead water down the impact of the climax. I would have enjoyed the story more if it had stayed focused on the core story, but The Dead Pennies is still a very good work of supernatural horror and well worth the time it takes to read the story.



I would like to thank Cemetery Dance Publications and NetGalley for this review copy. The Dead Pennies is available now.

Was this review helpful?

This book starts off innocent enough, builds and builds until it explodes from tension! I would say this is more of a slow burn read but once it gets rolling, it is insane! This is not your average ghost story. Cannot wait for more from Ford!!

Was this review helpful?