Barking Madness is a YA Paranormal Thriller and is the debut novel written when the author himself was in high-school. It opens with a dream scene and a dark woodland chase. We then meet the lead female character Rosetta Harper, a seventeen year old teenager full of attitude and selfishness as she embarks on life in a new school.
The setting is a small town of Ashwood, home to Michael and his high-school friends. Michael’s been working all summer and struggles under the constant criticism from his father. Not part of the “In-Crowd” they still joke around, party and talk about girls, but they don’t get invited to THE monthly parties held by Brad. Brad’s parties are renown for drink, drugs, sex and out of control behaviour and it is at her first Brad party that Rose, as she prefers to be called, witnesses a violent death, herself attacked and saved in the woods by Michael.
Rumours of a madman or a Wolf abound, but nothing stops Brad from holding a second party a month later. Rose mixes her drink and drugs and goes willingly to a bedroom with Zach, but something happens and when she awakes in the morning, naked and covered in blood, she’s shocked to hear of a second death.
Plunged into a nightmare of paranormal beings, horrific dreams and a curse Rose struggles to cope. Will she allow Michael to become her friend and help her or does she fear letting anyone else get close?
This is a dialogue led book which has chapters of alternate point of view from Rose and Michael. At times the large chunks of dialogue slow the pace of the book and overshadow the thriller theme of the storyline. The author intended the teenage characters to be a realistic reflection of his peers and he has deliberately made many of them unlikeable which is a risky move as their is little empathy to be had between reader and characters. There are some good ideas and pieces of writing within the text but they are lost under a blanket of cloggy dialogue. Although labelled as YA, this book is less suitable for youngers readers in this age bracket due to its content.
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