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The Pen Name (2013)

by David Jacob Knight(Favorite Author)
3.83 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
1492222828 (ISBN13: 9781492222828)
languge
English
publisher
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
review 1: “The creative mind is only truly happy when it’s tortured” – so says the enigmatic “agent” in David Jacob Knight’s horror thriller, THE PEN NAME. The plot revolves around aspiring writer Ben Little, who believes luck is finally in his corner when he lands a dream job, co-writing a novel with bestselling horror novelist Jack Fleischer. But from the moment Ben signs the contract (a contract hundreds of pages long that he is prevented from actually reading), his life becomes a nightmare that quickly spirals out of control. Who is Fleischer’s nameless agent, and what is really behind the German publishing company called Das Verlag? And when Ben begins to feel himself unable to distinguish between reality and dreams, is he losing his mind or does his contrac... moret with Das Verlag have something to do with it?THE PEN NAME is a novel in the same vein as Bentley Little’s classics (THE STORE, THE ACADEMY, THE RESORT, etc.) – it’s obvious that Ben Little’s name is a nod to Bentley Little. As in Little’s novels, the horror in THE PEN NAME comes from an unlikely source – in this case, it’s a publishing company. In Little’s THE STORE, a gigantic big box store (think WalMart) moves into town, bringing with it an unexpected horror. Here, Ben Little at first believes that his contract with Das Verlag (and his $15,000 advance) is both a life-saver and a career-maker. He’ll finally be able to pay for his son’s leg surgery (the boy was born with a club foot), and his wife Alice can finally be proud of him for getting one of his books published. But there’s something insidious about Das Verlag (which means “The Publisher” in German). The contract Ben signed seems to have sold his soul to this creepy corporate entity. And when he discovers that Das Verlag is equal parts meat processing plant and book publisher, creepy becomes downright horrific (the description of the pig grinding machine is particularly grotesque, as are the many uses for blood pudding). As in Bentley Little’s novels, a huge part of THE PEN NAME is satiric as Knight takes jabs at the entire publishing industry (and huge corporations in particular). He’s also having a little fun with the horror genre – when he reveals that Fleischer’s birth name was Stefan Koenig, it’s not hard to see where he’s going (after all, Koenig is one letter a way from the German word for King). To make the levels of satire even more convoluted, David Jacob Knight is really one of many pen names for writers Jacob Kier and D. L. Snell – at least that’s what a blurb at the end of the novel claims. I’m not sure how much of that I can believe, however, especially after finishing this novel. As the team asserts, David Jacob Knight “has endured great hardship with a past publisher, and this experience—along with the difficulties of maintaining multiple personas—has shaped the narrative of” THE PEN NAME. Maybe. Maybe not. But either way, it’s a good story.Fans of Bentley Little (and I count myself among them) will love this book. It is genuinely terrifying in ways that all of us can identify with. We’ve all dealt with annoyingly frustrating corporations, we’ve all signed contracts we didn’t understand, and we’ve all found ourselves wondering if the things that are happening to us are more dream than reality. What Knight does here is take that to its ultimate and horrifying conclusion – Das Verlag is demonic, Fleischer is insane, and the “agent” is a monster in a three-piece suit. And Ben Little (the “everyman”) is lost in a nightmare from which he may never wake up. This is a solid horror novel with a gripping and powerful ending. Knight is every bit as good as Bentley Little. Read it with the lights on![Please note: I was provided a copy of this novel for review; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
review 2: I signed in for The Pen Name giveaway and I am so glad I won!This is great supernatural thriller with excellently developed plot and characters, full of twists and turns and a lot of conspiracy going on.***“That's how they work, though. They don't try to convince you of anything. They make you doubt what you know. Make you jump to the wrong conclusions yourself.”***What intrigued me and made me read "just one more page before I go to sleep" was that EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I. THOUGHT. I. FIGURED. IT. OUT. the story unexpectedly changed and all my theories fell into water leaving me without the clue what could happen next (and reading until the sunrise).Fantastic page turner that will keep you up at night, a must-read for all who like thrillers and mysteries with supernatural elements.I really can't wait for next announced book, The Phone Company, to be published. less
Reviews (see all)
daphnevdn
i love the storyline of this book....and i realy wish i win the giveaway..........can't wait.. :D
eunjae
Really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the next book from you guys.
rashhy
Ben made a very bad deal!this book was a creepy good read
Rella4ever
3 and 1/2 stars. I'm kind of obsessed with the cover art.
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