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Helltown: A Horror Novel

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Helltown: A Horror Novel Welcome to Hilltown, NJ, a place the kids have always called Helltown. It's nothing like the suburb you might live in . . . Unless, that is, an insane, Listerine-guzzling Realtor sold you your house? Or perhaps your postman happens to have a disturbing relationship with his claw hammer? A grieving Dan LaBarbara knows something is different in Helltown: A Horror Novel Welcome to Hilltown, NJ, a place the kids have always called Helltown. It's nothing like the suburb you might live in . . . Unless, that is, an insane, Listerine-guzzling Realtor sold you your house? Or perhaps your postman happens to have a disturbing relationship with his claw hammer? A grieving Dan LaBarbara knows something is different in Helltown as soon as he comes back home. Yeah, sure, the town always been a little off. You can feel that about the place, like if you stepped into a house whose only occupants were freshly murdered corpses in an upstairs bedroom. But this is something else entirely. Standing in his little brother Barbie's basement workshop, holding one of those dioramas Barbie's been building since the accident, the ones that seem to move when you hold them, Dan can feel Barbie's terror. Barbie must know something is coming, something big, something evil. He's trying to warn Dan in the only way he knows. Why else would Barbie build a diorama depicting a man-sized version of a cartoon rabbit with bloody teeth about to devour a trembling teenager? Why else would he spend so much time crafting an intricate model of Death standing over a pimply teenager in the school library? And let's not even talk about that little model of the mob of undead surrounding the massive tower of vicious black spines behind the high school. Hilltown has a story to tell, and the lonely brain-damaged man who builds magical dioramas in his basement workshop has been telling it all along. As the evil closes in around them, Dan and his new love interest Jessica must do the impossible: save everyone one in Hilltown before it's too late.


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Helltown: A Horror Novel Welcome to Hilltown, NJ, a place the kids have always called Helltown. It's nothing like the suburb you might live in . . . Unless, that is, an insane, Listerine-guzzling Realtor sold you your house? Or perhaps your postman happens to have a disturbing relationship with his claw hammer? A grieving Dan LaBarbara knows something is different in Helltown: A Horror Novel Welcome to Hilltown, NJ, a place the kids have always called Helltown. It's nothing like the suburb you might live in . . . Unless, that is, an insane, Listerine-guzzling Realtor sold you your house? Or perhaps your postman happens to have a disturbing relationship with his claw hammer? A grieving Dan LaBarbara knows something is different in Helltown as soon as he comes back home. Yeah, sure, the town always been a little off. You can feel that about the place, like if you stepped into a house whose only occupants were freshly murdered corpses in an upstairs bedroom. But this is something else entirely. Standing in his little brother Barbie's basement workshop, holding one of those dioramas Barbie's been building since the accident, the ones that seem to move when you hold them, Dan can feel Barbie's terror. Barbie must know something is coming, something big, something evil. He's trying to warn Dan in the only way he knows. Why else would Barbie build a diorama depicting a man-sized version of a cartoon rabbit with bloody teeth about to devour a trembling teenager? Why else would he spend so much time crafting an intricate model of Death standing over a pimply teenager in the school library? And let's not even talk about that little model of the mob of undead surrounding the massive tower of vicious black spines behind the high school. Hilltown has a story to tell, and the lonely brain-damaged man who builds magical dioramas in his basement workshop has been telling it all along. As the evil closes in around them, Dan and his new love interest Jessica must do the impossible: save everyone one in Hilltown before it's too late.

49 review for Helltown: A Horror Novel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    This is the first book I've read using Kindle Unlimited. I got the idea to keep track of the money I save using KU from my buddy Dan. But I will not only be judging the amount of money I save. I will also be comparing the money saved to the quality of the books offered. Thankfully, I decided to start my 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited with this book, because, holy shit, was it bad. Had I paid for it, this review would have been far more rage-y. DNF @ 18%, but I'm going to review this becaus This is the first book I've read using Kindle Unlimited. I got the idea to keep track of the money I save using KU from my buddy Dan. But I will not only be judging the amount of money I save. I will also be comparing the money saved to the quality of the books offered. Thankfully, I decided to start my 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited with this book, because, holy shit, was it bad. Had I paid for it, this review would have been far more rage-y. DNF @ 18%, but I'm going to review this because the problems I had were with the terrible writing and editing, meaning no amount of good story could have saved this. To those of you who whine about reviewers reviewing books they do not finish, kindly take a flying fuck at a wall of spikes. The Stephen King references and Easter eggs were cute, but Stephen Bentley is no Stephen King, so they felt out of place. From a store called King's Supermarket to mentions of people with names like Barbie (Under the Dome) and Dodd (The Dead Zone) to the main character having gone to the University of Maine at Orono, where King was not only a professor, but a student. Then we have the Overlook Hospital... Okay. I get it. You've read some Stephen King. Good job. As a King fanboy you'd think that I'd have loved this stuff. But not here. Here it felt well and truly overdone, because all those nods to King occur in the first 18%. I can't imagine how many are in the book total. The dialog is clunky and silly and at times just plain broken. Bentley fails at even getting the simplest points across without rambling on. Slight spoilers ahead: Bentley writes: "I felt uncomfortable out there in the dark with Jessica trading numbers, like I was cheating on Pam or was planning to, but I wasn't, and that's the truth." No shit, Sherlock, because Pam's dead. You can't cheat on a dead person. I know what he meant, that he felt he was betraying his dead wife, but that sentence if full of unneeded words. Speaking of unneeded words, we get stuff like: "I saw Jessica swallow hard." The book is written in first-person, so we know everything seen is from Dan's POV. A simple, "Jessica swallowed hard." would suffice. We know Dan saw it. He wrote the book. Which brings me to the fact that this poor novel is in serious need of a line editor. Sure, there's a missing word here and there, but Bentley needs help with simple mechanics. He needs to have a professional work with him on how paragraphs are structured and what information should come before what information. Speaking of information, the first 15% of this novel is nothing but info dump after info dump. Instead of getting to know the characters, like in any other cogent novel, Bentley dives right into these vague scare tactics. "Can't you feel something coming?" Ooooooo, eerie! But not so much, because we don't know the characters, one of which is stolen whole-hog from Stephen King's Dreamcatcher. Barbie is Duddits's doppelganger, right down to the way he talks. But, back to my point about the lack of character development. I can't be scared for characters I don't know. Just because you tell me something is scary doesn't make it so. There's a bunch of silly shit in here that I won't go into too much detail about, but I wanted to highlight a scene wherein the two main characters are saying this place, Hilltown, is unique because it has ghost stories. Here's the interaction: "It's amazing isn't it?" "What?" "All these stories." She put her pen down and looked at me. "Everyone [the people in Hilltown] has them. Did they have them in Maine?" "No." "Didn't have them in Fairlawn, either..." Fucking what? What town doesn't have ghost stories? Also, I lived in Maine, for 3 years. That state is loaded with ghost stories. It was at this point, 8% into the book, that I lost all faith in Bentley as a storyteller. Nothing happens in this book for the first 15%, and when something does happen (the characters being teleported ahead two days) they're shocked for all of a minute before going to grab hamburgers at Burger King. What? You just lost two days and your investigative approach is "Wanna grab a whopper?" Fuck off. We do get a lot of forced foreshadowing. Something is coming. Everyone feels weird and uncomfortable. We get the cliched old man warning of "Get out of town while you still can!" and the strangest fucking bit of forced foreshadowing I've had the displeasure to read: "Jessica threw the ball into the river. I was glad. Something about it gave me the willies. I had a feeling those pinky balls didn't belong in this universe." There's no reason for this dude to feel the way he does about these pinky balls. No descriptions of odd shadows or the ball sweating or dripping ectoplasm. He just... feels... like... something's... wrong... And that is this book. It just feels wrong. From the info dumps to the terrible writing to the forced foreshadowing to the goofy dialog to the tired King homage, it all just feels wrong. In summation: Nothing can save this read at this point, so I gave up. Stephen Bentley has written what will likely become my worst read of the year. Final Judgment: That soupy substance at the bottom of a dumpster. Thank fuck for Kindle Unlimited. Money saved thus far: $2.99

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janie C.

    DNF

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pete Kahle

    In the crowded confines of Amazon, it can be difficult to get noticed. I can personally attest to that, which is why I always keep an eye out for new authors who deserve exposure. HELLTOWN caught my eye with its cover, and after reading the first few pages, I decided to give it a chance. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Bentley has written a classic horror novel written with the ease of a veteran. Frankly, I was jealous at how smoothly the story flowed. It shouldn't b In the crowded confines of Amazon, it can be difficult to get noticed. I can personally attest to that, which is why I always keep an eye out for new authors who deserve exposure. HELLTOWN caught my eye with its cover, and after reading the first few pages, I decided to give it a chance. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Bentley has written a classic horror novel written with the ease of a veteran. Frankly, I was jealous at how smoothly the story flowed. It shouldn't be this easy for a debut author. HELLTOWN does have many recognizable horror tropes. Small town taken over by an insidious evil? CHECK. Prodigal son returns home? CHECK. Long-lost love of prodigal son? CHECK. Differently-abled main character with an inexplicable psychic ability connected to the aforementioned evil? CHECK. Creepy haunted house where bad s*** happens? CHECK. This could have led to to a "been there, seen that" vibe, but Bentley managed to keep me thoroughly vested in the story. I'll certainly be looking for more of his novels in the future. I only had one issue with the book and it had nothing to do with the story. To be honest, I could be completely wrong about my assumption. It was just that the name Stephen Bentley sounds like a generic mashup pseudonym of Stephen King and Bentley Little. Once it occurred to me, I couldn't unthink it. Forget I said anything. Just buy this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    DREAM CATCHER Anyone? I have to admit that this was a page Turner, but the more I read, the more I felt like this was a Stephen King ripoff. While there were differences, it still echoed DREAM CATCHER. I rated it 3.5 stars. It was well written with few typos. It is definitely in the horror genre.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Konarek

    Unique and different I am reading my way through Stephen Bentley and this one is right at the top. It's a ood read. Unique and different I am reading my way through Stephen Bentley and this one is right at the top. It's a ood read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    kozettekaysmith

    Disappointed The book starts out really good and I think this is a true winner as far as horror goes, then it starts going down hill almost ridiculous . It lost me getting towards the end. I just got very bored. Not sure I would recommend. kozetteksmith

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Smith

    Great Read!! This book kept me wanting to know what was about to happen. I'd finish a chapter and need to put it down for some reason but couldn't. Page after page I just had to see what was next. Great Read!! This book kept me wanting to know what was about to happen. I'd finish a chapter and need to put it down for some reason but couldn't. Page after page I just had to see what was next.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Donovan

    Helltown Was a very good read. I enjoyed the characters and the first third of the book. The ending wasn't what I'd expected. I love horror but gore was most prevalent rather then a true understanding of why it was happening. Still a good read. Helltown Was a very good read. I enjoyed the characters and the first third of the book. The ending wasn't what I'd expected. I love horror but gore was most prevalent rather then a true understanding of why it was happening. Still a good read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Teena Renken

    Interesting story Very creepy moments and frightening situations! Good characters also. A good book to read when you want something different overall a good book

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betty Nelson

    Great book. Horror to the rafters. Hard to put down.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Middleton

    Good story Lots of references to Stephen King books. Enjoyed it very much. I think Bentley Little had some input in it,too. See what you think.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ivonne rivera-deaver

    An ok story Not a true horror , freeze in your bed, keep the light on kind of book. The theme ok , but boring for me, not memorable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeanine

    I gave up at 65%. Jumping from one person's story to anothers story got tedious. after a while I just didn't care any more. I gave up at 65%. Jumping from one person's story to anothers story got tedious. after a while I just didn't care any more.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela m. Smith

  16. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

  17. 5 out of 5

    michelle e. medeiros

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katie Kearns

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sheare Bliss

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Hanks

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Adams

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill VanBriesen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian Mcclain

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zoraida Rodriguez

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ruthann Breitenfeld

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sandi Lucero

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

  31. 5 out of 5

    Patricia McCallum

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

  33. 4 out of 5

    lina

  34. 4 out of 5

    K4tie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Dixie

  36. 4 out of 5

    Linda Strickland

  37. 4 out of 5

    belinda

  38. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Borthwick

  39. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Chmura

  40. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Fitzgerald

  41. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

  42. 5 out of 5

    Barb Kauffman

  43. 4 out of 5

    Anna Ford

  44. 5 out of 5

    Nikki / Tinyavenger

  45. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  46. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnn Motz

  47. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Gudger

  48. 5 out of 5

    Sway

  49. 5 out of 5

    Dan Malloy

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