Friday, February 10, 2023

Come Out, Come Out, Whatever You Are by Kathryn Foxfield | Book Review

Today Laurie recommends COME OUT, COME OUT, WHATEVER YOU ARE by Kathryn Foxfield. We hope you'll check it out!


Come Out, Come Out, Whatever You Are by Kathryn Foxfield

"The bestselling author of Good Girls Die First is back with a new page-turning thriller for fans of Holly Jackson and Karen McManus.

Welcome to the reality game show that'll scare you to death! Have you got what it takes to last the night?

On the reality show It's Behind You!, five contestants competing for prize money must survive the night in the dark and dangerous Umber Gorge caves, rumored to be haunted by the Puckered Maiden, a ghost who eats the hearts of her victims. But is it the malevolent spirit they should fear, or each other?

As the production crew ramps up the frights, tensions rise and the secrets of the cast member start coming to light. Each of these teenagers has hidden motives for taking part in the show. But could one of them be murder?"

Amazon | Goodreads 

Laurie's Review

If you love campy horror this is a book for you! Campy horror novels (and movies) can be such a welcome break from reality.

Nothing here can be taken too seriously, including the premise, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A desperate woman whose show is fading from popularity and needs ratings at any cost creates a new season of “It’s Behind You!” where faux and maybe real frights scare the contestants right out of the game. The last one standing is the winner. This time around Jackie casts five teens who she thinks fit her stereotypes and she locks them in a dangerous cave that was once an amusement park. To spice things up it is also reputed to be haunted by a ghost who plucks the hearts from mere mortals and eats them up! Yum! They call her “The Puckered Maiden”.

Yes, you read that right. The Puckered Maiden.

I don’t know if she croaked while eating lemons or whatnot and I never did find out but it made me laugh every time she was mentioned. And she was mentioned often.

Anyhow, the story is told from the POV of Lex who is supposed to be the snarky, comic relief. You may or may not be annoyed by Lex and some of these other teens. I guess that depends on your tolerance for these types of teens. Lex was more obnoxious than funny to me but as the story played out and she was forced to team up with some of the other characters I became less aggravated by her commentary. She’s nosy and she never learns a lesson and she is 100% confident she will win this game. Her relationship with a YouTube star who calls himself Python was great fun. They bounced off of each other well and he helped smooth out some of her rough edges.

This book moves fast. The game takes place over 24 hours so it kind of has to move but the characterization is lacking which is kind of a shame because it could’ve been a much better book had I cared about a few of these people earlier. The teens were all very interchangeable and I ended up confusing some of them a time or two and hoping the puckered maiden would hurry up and eat a few if only so I would be less confused.

The entire adventure is extremely claustrophobic. That was done excellently. Near the end, it gets beautifully unhinged and there’s a big mwahaha moment where someone spills all of their evil motives just because they feel like it. You’re either going to love those bits or you won’t. I did but I just eat up that kind of thing.

Definitely don't go into this thinking it's going to scare you in a creep-under-your-skin kind of way. It's not that kind of book. I hope I’ve given you enough here without the dreaded spoilers so you can decide if this one is or isn’t for you.

Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts about COME OUT, COME OUT WHATEVER YOU ARE as well as any recent reads in the comments below.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.

Laurie is one of our Horror Spotlight Admins. Laurie creates our review posts and coordinates review requests.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

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