Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

CHASING THE DEAD by Joe Schreiber

Cover Image

Chasing the Dead is a sleek bullet of a suspense/horror novel. I know that both of those genres exist independently of each other, but sometimes have elements of the other within them, but this book is first one, then the other in a blend like I haven’t seen before.

I picked the book up because the cover caught my eye. I couldn’t help wondering who was driving that car at night down such a desolate road with the forest all around. From the provocative title, I knew whoever it was couldn’t be out day-tripping – primarily because it’s night. I was also attracted by the brevity of the book. At 250 pages with a generous font instead of tiny type, I knew I could probably get through it in an hour or two. So I added it to the stack I was getting.

At home, still curious, I opened the cover and intended to read a chapter or so just to get the feel of it. I do that a lot and let my subconscious choose the order of the books I read when I don’t have a definite plan.

However, I had definite plans. I’ve got an immense TBR pile. But I read the prologue and remained curious. After all, a prologue doesn’t necessarily tell you how a book is going to read.

On the first page of Chapter 1, I met Susan Young, newly divorced and still not sure why, who’s about to close a major real estate deal, and is just trying to get home to her young daughter through the late-evening traffic. Within six pages, she arrives home and finds her daughter and the nanny aren’t home.

Then she gets the phone call.

The voice of a man she doesn’t know informs her that she has a beautiful daughter, then proceeds to describe her. I was hooked. As a parent, having my child in the hands of a madman would be terrifying.

By the end of the next two chapters, just ten short pages away and I’m suddenly 15% of the way through the novel, Susan is forced to obey the machinations of the evil man who holds the life of her child in his hands.

I was totally stuck at this point. For a first-time author, Schreiber really knows how to keep a reader turning pages. I finally gave up and settled back to just follow the book through to the end. I had no choice. I was held completely in thrall.

In just a few more short chapters, Susan is commanded to dig up a grave. By hand. During the confusion, she inadvertently left the shovel she was told she had to bring. By the time she gets back to her SUV, there’s another body waiting for her that turns her world upside down again.

Schreiber’s story moves relentlessly, till the anticipation becomes an adrenaline-laced blur. The twists and turns come faster and faster, and I can’t really remember when the story jumped from suspense to out-and-out Stephen King style horror because the dread inside me continued to come from the same place. The dread grew larger and larger, though, because what Susan faced seemed to grow exponentially as well.

Although Chasing the Dead isn’t going to change your life or even stay with you long after you finish it, the novel will definitely take you to the darker places of your mind and root around in old fears resurrected from childhood. It’s a fun, fast read that will keep you nailed to the pages as you try to stay up with the whipsaw of obstacles Susan faces as she struggles to save her child.

Now I’ve gotta pick up Schreiber’s new book, Eat the Dead, that just hit the bookshelves. And when I read it, I’m gonna do it at night just for that extra adrenaline spike. I’ll make sure the doors are all locked and the windows are closed first.

4 Responses to “CHASING THE DEAD by Joe Schreiber”

  1. Joe Schreiber’s new book is actually called Eat the Dark. I’m a huge fan of his work; I have both of his books, and quintessentially they’ve found their way to the top of my “Favorite Books” list. The stories are interesting, intricate, and feel almost real, though his they tend to deal with the supernatural. I’m ESPECIALLY inspired by his unique way of describing his characters and their internal dialogue; I also love his hauntingly eloquent similes and metaphors. Amazing. That’s all I have to say.

  2. i read this book it is verry exiteing. i think that they should make a 2nd

  3. I loved this book. It was very exciting, left me with wanting to know more. I definitley think you should write a second.

  4. I love this book its my favorite, now all my friends want to borrow it! Its a fan favorite!!!

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