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The Messy Man (The Messy Man Series: Book Three) by Chris Sorensen #BookReview

Ellen Marx sees ghosts.

Her mother Rita just wants her to be a ‘normal’ eleven-year-old kid. But that’s tough to do when you receive a birthday card from your dead father.

Following a trail of breadcrumbs left by her dad, Ellen sets out on a journey to unravel the mystery surrounding her father’s disappearance and ends up unearthing secrets best left buried.

The third and final book in the haunting trilogy, The Messy Man brings to a close the story that began with The Nightmare Room and The Hungry Ones.

The cover has blue/grey tones. A dilapidated church is centered and surrounded by flying birds. One lone figure stands outside the church door, looking at the church. The title, The Messy Man, is in scratchy white letters across the top. The author's name, Chris Sorensen, is in yellow across the bottom of the cover

Title: The Messy Man | Author: Chris Sorensen  | Publisher: Harmful Monkey Press| Pub. Date: 13 October 2020 | Pages: 300 | ISBN: 9780998342436 | Genre: Horror | Language: English |  Source: Received a copy from author for review consideration | Starred Review

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The Messy Man Review

“…she was moving closer to a life filled with jawless nightmares and ghostly rides through the sky. Closer to madness.”

Chris Sorensen – The Messy Man

I find myself honored to be the Sci Fi and Scary crew member responsible for reviewing this last book. When The Nightmare Room was published, Gracie and Lilyn gave it a favorable review, both of them chiming in on one post. Then, in the summer of 2019, The Hungry Ones released, and I chimed in on what is probably one of my favorite literary sequels to date. All of these reviews are spoiler free. A note to new readers: it really is necessary to read these books in order. Sorensen does a great job of weaving them together and even provides a recap of books 1 and 2 of sorts at the end of The Messy Man in case returning readers need a refresher.

Sorensen continues to demonstrate his skill with weaving alternate timelines throughout the book. This is something that can easily become confusing, but the author handles it well. I like that these switches can take place at any time; they are not confined to switching with the chapters and often they will occur frequently within even just a few pages. The effect is that the reader is pulled through the experiences in real time. It can be disorienting (and perhaps it is meant to be at times) and I found it a refreshing change from what I normally read.

This book centers on Ellen Marx. Readers of the first two installments may remember her as having a small-ish part in the first book followed by quite a bit more involvement in the second. In the Author’s Note, Sorensen credits Ellen for the genesis of the final Messy Man book. I was thrilled to find her at center stage. Young Ellen grapples with the supernatural, a beloved father, and her burgeoning desire to find the truth…at all costs. Her voice is real and true; I loved being in her head.

As any “last book in a trilogy” must do, this one attempts to tie all the threads and pathways crafted in the preceding books. I, for one, think the author truly nailed this. Satisfied, I decided to read the provided synopsis of books 1 and 2 I mentioned earlier, and found EVEN MORE things I missed; the tapestry was completed. I love it when authors don’t spoon feed EVERYTHING to me; readers are intelligent and the surprises/payoffs are worth it.

I mentioned in a previous review that The Hungry Ones reminded me of a favorite sequel in a franchise. The Messy Man cements this entire journey as quite possibly my favorite horror novel world. If you haven’t yet checked out this book series, now is the time. Escape for awhile. Get messy.

  You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks. As this has JUST been added, the link for the Kindle edition is here and the paperback from Amazon is here.

Published inBook ReviewsHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

One Comment

  1. Thanks for spending some time with Ellen Marx!

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