In the spirit of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and The Outer Limits comes Weeping Season by Seán O’Connor. A unsettling, suspenseful chiller that leaves you gasping for breath…
A group of strangers wake up in a cold isolated forest with no memory of anything before their arrival. Lost, hungry and wandering aimlessly, they are summoned to a campsite. A remote entity who controls their fate through a series of tortuous objectives. Their only hope for survival is either escape from the psychological game reserve, known as Block 18, or face mortality at the hands of its maniacal moderator, who loves nothing more than watch his participants suffer.
Title: Weeping Season | Author: Seán O’Connor | Publisher: Matador | Pub. Date: 13 September 2019 Pages: 240 ISBN: 9781838590871 | Genre: Horror/Suspense Language: English Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out 5 Source: Received a copy from author for review consideration
Weeping Season Review
The synopsis above was enough to make this book a must-read for me. As a fan of Black Mirror, I knew this could go one of two ways. A completely engaging and unique read, or a massive dumpster fire that left me wanting. Even after devouring this book in a single day, I still waffled between rating this a 4 or a 5. I even talked it out with a friend (who didn’t mind the spoilers) and eventually made up my mind.
The first three quarters of the book is like some wild mash-up of Saw and Hunger Games with an atmosphere that reminds me of an M. Night Shyalaman film. Like the synopsis above mentions, our players awake in a strange forest with no memory. From here the book just takes off and every new development fit perfectly. I had no issues suspending my disbelief.
The characters in this book are provided with just enough back story needed. The person running this show is brutal and sadistic, so for some, there really is no reason to get to know them. They are fodder. Fear is a major player here and O’Connor does a great job at conveying how the characters feel. I did not list any trigger warnings with this book but there are some intense scenes and there is a child death that happens “off screen”. This doesn’t spoil anything and i just wanted to give a heads up to anyone that might need it.
The ending. There are a few moments in which the pace might be a bit too fast, but not enough to ruin anything.The last quarter or less of the book contains massive reveals that happen at a break neck pace and I did have to go back and re-read. As I finished, i was definitely left with a “wtf” moment, but in the end I decided I liked it. This is where I think it will get interesting. Some readers will be like me and arrive at a “yeah, I DID like that”, others will throw it across the room, and still others will automatically love it. I cannot wait to watch this play out as new readers check it out.
This was my first read by Seán O’Connor and I will definitely pick up more of his work. I really dug this twisted tale and I liked the feel it gave me in reference to some of my favorite fiction works. Be sure to check this out in September!
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Tracy joined Sc-Fi and Scary in September 2018. She reviews horror books for the site and bemoans our general lack of grammar, but puts up with us because she loves us anyway. Feel free to reach out on Twitter and Instagram at @tracy_reads79, or on Goodreads as well!
Tracy is also part of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.