The Unseenby JL Bryan (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Indie Published on October 25, 2013
Genres: Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Amazon • Book Depository • Goodreads
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Cassidy is a young tattoo artist living in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. She’s always suffered terrible nightmares, and sometimes the hideous creatures seem to follow her out of her dreams and into her waking life, though she’s the only one who can see them. Drugs and alcohol can blot them out, but never entirely chase them away.
When a demonic cult begins to take control of the people in her life, including her younger brother, Cassidy discovers that the unseen world of monsters is very real. She can no longer avoid it. To protect those she loves, she must accept her own hidden supernatural talents and face the forces of evil before the sinister cult achieves its twisted goals and casts the world into darkness.
It’s no secret that JL Bryan is one of my short list of insta-read authors. It could be a grocery list at this point and I’ll take a stab at it, knowing that I’m in for one hell of a heart-pounding and spooky ride down the aisles with demons, witches, evil fairies, kick ass time travelers, or other supernatural beasties on my heals. And The Unseen kicks his previous horror novels up a serious notch, featuring a world full of invisible creepy crawlies that feed on your energy while a Satanic cult awaits the arrival of their Messiah.
Cassidy has her first brush with the paranormal as a teenager when she and her girlfriends play with a Ouija board during a slumber party. Unfortunately for beautiful bad-girl Reese, a demon tries to take over her body while Cassidy and her two best-friends from different worlds–party girl Barb and smart, reserved Tamila–look on helplessly. When the Reese/demon makes threats towards Cassidy and tries to harm her, they go on the defensive and find a way to stop the possession by burning the Ouija board, but not before Reese loses an eye and is battered. Life is obviously never the same for the four girls again, and only Barb and Cassidy remain friends, partying their way through high school into adulthood.
But Cassidy has a reason to live her life in a near constant state of inebriation from alcohol and drugs. Ever since that fateful night in high school, Cassidy has seen awful transparent bugs and creatures that feed on people without anyone else noticing. Only the oblivion of substance abuse can make their images go away. Creative Cassidy has found work as a tattoo artist and shares a house with bartender Barb and several other colorful roommates, including a girl with two consenting live in boyfriends. Cassidy works at the tattoo shop and hangs out with her boyfriend Peyton, who’s a trust fund baby who’s an aspiring DJ who doesn’t exactly make the healthiest life choices either.
And it’s those crappy life choices like driving under the influence that cause Peyton to wreck his car, sending both him and Cassidy to the hospital. It’s here where the story really picks up when Cassidy finds that she must move back home with her mother and brother Kiernan while she recuperates from a broken leg with only a few physical therapy appointments, and Peyton moves to a rehabilitation facility where he meets Reese, who’s now part of a Cult that is searching for the new Messiah. Will confirmed atheist Peyton be drawn into this sinister world, and could Kiernan be the one they’re looking for? Either way, Cassidy is certainly concerned when Reese shows up in town after she’s been gone since high school…
Cassidy is a survivor and a fighter, and her relationship with her best-friend Barb is really great. They’ve stuck together through a lot, and Barb has done a lot to try and make their lives better. The housemates add a nice bit of comedic relief, which is in the flavor of JL Bryan’s usual off-beat and sarcastic humor.
I give The Unseen a five out of five. JL Bryan has really upped the creepy and dark material in this book, and I really enjoyed reading about the dangerous dealings of a Satanic Cult in Georgia. Since the author lives in this part of the United States, the writing really brings this area to life, and I really felt like I could imagine all of the areas that were described in the book, even though I’ve only been to Alpharetta in my travels. What really stands out in this book are the graphic, gritty, and nasty creatures that inhabit the invisible world, and coupled with the evil humans and dastardly deeds, The Unseen is a deliciously dark and dangerous look at the problems that can plague you by ignoring things. The book is tidied up nicely in the end, but I definitely want to read more of Cassidy’s story.