Bleed by Emerald O’Brien

Published: August 31, 2023

Emerald O’Brien

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Pages: 246

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Emerald O’Brien is a Canadian author, born and raised just east of Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from her Television Broadcasting and Communications Media program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2014, Emerald decided to pursue her life-long passion for writing unpredictable stories packed with suspense. When she is not reading or writing, Emerald can be found with family and friends. Watching movies with her two beagles is one of her favourite ways to spend an evening at home.

A Halloween to remember… if she makes it out alive.

In the quiet town of Auburn Hills, a man in a skull mask forces a father to watch as his daughter is murdered, only to be granted the twisted reprieve of his own death when a witness calls for help. The sadistic killer escapes, and the grief-stricken father gives his statement before admitting himself to a mental health hospital.

One month later, Fox Dallener is eager to celebrate her Halloween traditions with her cousin. But after a disturbing experience at work, she can’t shake the eerie feeling of being watched.

On edge, she hopes for safety in numbers as she and her cousin attend a Halloween party with their group of misfit friends. However, all bets are off when the inconsolable father is spotted leaving the hospital and the witness is reported missing.

As the night progresses, unsettling events push Fox’s paranoia to the limits. Though her panic could be the result of simple, harmless pranks, she can’t help but feel like a target.

Desperate for answers and safety, Fox fears the worst. Has her past finally caught up to her?

“We can have tonight.”

Fox is used to people leaving; it doesn’t make her sad. She accepts it as normal. When she loses a lucrative job, she moves into her aunt and uncle’s house, which is available as they are divorcing. With the house sale looming, Fox has to start making decisions. Thankfully, her best friend and cousin, Jack, comes home to spend Halloween with her. Nothing can go wrong when she has her best friend by her side.

DO YOU LIKE SCARY MOVIES?! Holy cannoli, Batman. I enjoyed this novel immensely. The build-up was so brilliantly done. I loved every horror movie reference, and I appreciate Emerald even more for using lesser-known titles (Ginger Snaps?!). I loved how that played so perfectly into this storyline.

I loved Fox. She was not someone who saw herself as a victim of anything. She embraced life, even if it scared her or left her feeling helpless, and she clung to the people who made her feel alive.

I loved the dynamic Jack and Fox had. I think most of us have someone in our life that is the Ethel to our Lucy (another fantastic reference). The soul sisterhood between these two was beautiful.

The way this story is told is chaotic and scary, but when the twist happens- it slaps you in the face and holds you hostage. I devoured this book. The last half was so intense!

My favorite horror films are those that could happen, so I loved this story. This could happen. It’s terrifying to think about; it’s a gruesome thing to say, but it could happen. The fear kept me glued to the pages, and the anxiety had me speed-reading.

I love the complex emotions Emerald writes within her characters and situations. You feel the tension, fear, anger- and it moves you. Emerald writes her characters with so much heart, and it is apparent that she has done the work in bringing them to life in her mind, which allows her to weave them into terrifying novels.

How someone who is so genuinely kind can create worlds filled with the stuff of absolute nightmares baffles me. Yet Emerald has done it again. I don’t even try to guess the twists anymore- I sit back and hold on.

This read like a horror film. I enjoyed that aspect. I am excited this is a series, and I look forward to seeing what kind of nightmares await!

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