The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson ★★★☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Published: 29 September 2020 by Gallery Books/Saga Press
Page count: 320 (hardback)
My Format: eBook via NetGalley
Cover: Eye-catching
Pacing: Frenetic, repetitive                             
Ending: Okay
Do I Recommend: Maybe
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Loop

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis
Turner Falls is a small tourist town nestled in the hills of western Oregon, the kind of town you escape to for a vacation. When an inexplicable outbreak rapidly develops, this idyllic town becomes the epicenter of an epidemic of violence as the teenaged children of several executives from the local biotech firm become ill and aggressively murderous. Suddenly the town is on edge, and Lucy and her friends must do everything it takes just to fight through the night.

My Thoughts
I enjoy reading horror during this time of year, so I started reading this book just before Halloween thinking it would fit the bill nicely for a great scare! It took me 13 days to get through this book! I typically read one book every two days, so almost 2 weeks to finish a book feels like a lifetime to me. I’m sorry to say that I had to work too hard to stay interested. Here are my pros and cons for The Loop:

Pros

  1. If you can make it to the 70% mark in the book (approximately), you will be rewarded with some actual thriller/horror elements. Until then, the book is pretty mediocre in my opinion (see Con #1).
  2. The pacing was chaotic and stressful. I am adding this as a Pro because I think that the crazy pacing made the story feel more dire.
  3. Great concept. Foundationally, the story was solid.
  4. Had a strong science fiction element that I liked.
  5. The very ending was just okay for me, but the action leading up to it (as I mentioned above) was exhilarating, sad, and scary.

Cons

  1. This book is unbelievably verbose. Everything is described and dwelled upon to the point of exhaustion – at least for me. I really felt like I was reading the same things over and over and over. I was ready to DNF at about 40% because I didn’t feel like the story was going anywhere.
  2. There was some vulgar language and tasteless references in the book that were wholly unnecessary. Some of the dialogue between the teens in the book was bizarre and unbelievable.
  3. It was excessively violent. One character was actually enjoying her violent actions a little too much. Violence seemed to be glorified in the story.
  4. A completely pointless and disgusting scene of animal violence was included in the story. I almost stopped reading at that point.
  5. I didn’t connect with a single character.

Summary
This book is clearly not for me, but it is a Goodreads Choice Horror 2020 nominee so I know there are people who have loved it. I just couldn’t get into it. When it takes me 2 weeks to finish a 320 page book, that immediately tells me that I’m not invested and not interested. The concept was fascinating and the structure of the book solid, but too many elements of the story were over-the-top, excessively violent, and sometimes quite vulgar. It was actually difficult to read at times. I wish there had been less focus on shock value and more on story or character development.

All that said, I didn’t completely dislike the book and the ending was good enough for me to bump my rating to 3 stars. However, I’m not sure I’d recommend this to anyone unless they were serious sci-fi/horror fans who can tolerate graphic violence and ignore gratuitous animal abuse.

Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books/Saga Press for a free eARC of this book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.  

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Loop. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

Where to find me:

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2 thoughts on “The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson ★★★☆☆ #BookReview #BookBlog

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