The Horror Writer: Jerry Jay Carroll
Sometimes you can be in the wrong place at the right time. But, not in this case where Thom Hearn author of horror novels meets hedge fund manager, Carrie Alexander on a flight that takes them deep inside a jungle, hoping not to crash, a pilot whose overweight and dies and a landing that no one will ever forget. Almost killed on this plane, thinking he was invited to a conference for big names in banking, science and business, little does Hearn know that it was all one big mistake? That is the invitation and that’s just the beginning of some bizarre and odd events that will scare the daylights out of readers. Making to the conference after hoping to find someway to get there and landing on a tropical paradise that seems too good to be true, Thom and Carrie feel at first that they are in paradise. Little do they know that strange things would happen and that they would be questioning their own sanities, what they think they see and events that seem real but are they?
As we enter the panel rooms and meet those running the panels you begin to see some odd occurrences as violence, murder and death come to light as one facilitator decides to eliminate those that are not worthy of being in the same room or air space as him. Hermod is dangerous and running whatever happens on this strange island. As we get to know Thom even more he allows readers to know he thinks his mind is being read or controlled, he sees characters in his books and someone appears and states that his work is trash and it’s being rewritten for distribution. But, the murder happens in public yet memories are scarce and no one knows about it or even admits it happened. Fearful at times and wanting off the island he’s told that at this time it’s in a no fly zone, water and other amenities seem to disappear and then reappear as Carrie finds herself in her own fantasy world too. It’s almost as if each character is writing his/her own chapters or scenes and the outcome horrifying surreal. Thom is likeable yet you wonder if some of the things he sees is just his imagination running wild or if they really happened.
Here as a mistake or was it? The people at the conference wanting the brain surgeon whose name is almost like his. But, what’s really scary is that you begin to realize that these people are not real almost like droids of some kind creating a perfect world that is too perfect. Within this remote island, which seems fabricated to for the rich and influential people at this conference it’s almost like someone create a world that they would fit into and yet some don’t. While his work is being rewritten and violence is there, accused of murder or maybe not as Carrie Alexander wants to leave the island but finds herself held captive by a young teen who reveals it all to her but is it true about what he tells her about this island, the weather and more? Hearn begins to relive his worst fears, sees monsters that he remembers growing up as he is haunted by the very characters in his books. Are people really dying? Why is the cuisine so good yet people get sick? Who is the homicidal maniac named Gar-eee who kills his victims and wants to rid the world of Thom?
Who is real? Who are the aliens? Who are the ones controlling the people that are now on this island? The staff or members of the foundation apologize for any inconveniences and yet everyone wants to leave?
The scenes get graphic and the jungle often comes to life as each character begins to visualize and experience different events but did they really happen? When Carrie meets Natalie and goes to her cabana why is she told she was never there? What happens when a professor collaborates with Thom on these ideas and speculates about the island and wants to leave will they devise a plan?
Can someone create a world of people they feel are perfect, control their every being and thought? What happens when most of the people stranded on this island are sent back and their memories erased so they would not remember or recall their experiences on this island?
Murders, disappearances, Hermod who created this world and wanted life to be flashbacked to the Mesozoic Era before people and when dinosaurs reigned but who would he do this and for what purpose?
Each chapter was like a scene from a play some with the characters from Hearn’s books and others from the imaginary worlds created for the reader and others in the books by Hermod and even Ned.
How will these strange murders, events and other oddities be explained? How will Ned find a way to stop Hermod? But, when he and Carrie meet up and she explains how Ned saved her life from drowning, Hearn knows exactly who Ned is and the fact that he made him up for a series focused on the teenage market. Reliving the crash, the plane and the entire event from the beginning would that explain what was real or imaginary and who was real or made up?
Carrie reflects on the breakup of the EU and the return of the Cold War, the Muslim madness, climate change, the job-killing robots, the superbugs, the steady vulgarization of the culture, and the other tings an informed person had to worry about. But, in spite of that life was logical and structured in its own way. What about the unexpected and unplanned? Living on this island there was a woman who was there one day and gone the next. Another woman swept away with rapture by a film, a cinema masterpiece no one ever saw before then sees the same movie later in the evening, on with an unbelievable amazing score written and created by the director himself when he was not painting the great artworks on his home walls. Thom thought this place was perfect, flawless but the environment dark and eerie. Carrie questions whether they really have an accident. Did Ned hack into their systems planting viruses right and left and is that what is affecting Hermod? Who was killing all of the people on the island? Would Thom and Carrie be safe where they were hiding? Would they ever get home again?
All evidence they want to disappear and how did their clothes fall apart? What is the power of the scarf that Thom found? What had Ned created and who could kill it as Thom redirects his mind to create another book!
The topic you won’t believe and the ending leaves us wondering what is next for Thom Hearn. What is reality, what is fantasy and what is the imagination of our outstanding author Jerry Jay Carroll who created a novel that leaves us wondering where Thom and Carrie might wind up next taking readers along with the characters on a journey that you might think you experienced or maybe not! Real or imagined? That is the genius of the HORROR WRITER? Would you have liked to join them on this journey? Islands so perfect yet can you the reader see the imperfections of something that appears to be what it’s not!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine