Cover Image: August's Eyes

August's Eyes

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As a firm favorite author, Glenn Rolfe, I was over the moon to be reviewing his new release, August’s Eyes.  Dreams that bleed into reality?  Reminiscent of Nightmare on Elm Street…yes, please!

John has a great life.  Fulfilling career, beautiful wife, a roof over their head. The only thing that is missing from their life is a baby.  Sarah longs to complete their family but John feels settled with how they are now.  They’ve tried before and he can’t bear to see that hurt etched upon his wife’s face again.   Things begin to change for John when he starts having disturbing dreams.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason for their content but is the passage of time trying to alert him to something? Dreams are such a weird phenomenon.  They feel so real at the time, awakening to confusion and the physiological effects of what our subconscious puts us through.  August’s Eyes is an examination of how realities can become blurred, how the brain is our ultimate defense strategy. 

These dreams are getting to John.  Daily activities like work and interactions with colleagues are affected by the amount of restful sleep he isn’t getting.  He just attributes it to stress but when he makes an appointment with Dr. Soctomah, his wife’s therapist, it becomes apparent that his brain is compartmentalizing traumatic events.  His sessions with the therapist shake John’s life foundations.  John’s memories, pain, and state of mind come over him like the rushing waves of a tsunami.

John’s hometown, Spears Corner has a dark history.  It has around twelve graveyards and death is written upon its foundations.  A native American tribe resided on land here and ultimately perished at the hands of Spears Corner’s founder.  The past has a habit of remembering the deeds committed and John knows this better than anyone.   

Glenn Rolfe has this habit of writing seriously creepy characters and August’s Eyes is no exception.  His words are as heavy as lead and the narrative is heavy with potential.  It is the perfect storm of angst.  The story is emotive and a true depiction of how the human condition is the real evil lurking in the dark shadows.  Rolfe has a repertoire of cunning and depravity and he isn’t hesitant to subject his readers to a fresh helping.

August’s Eyes  was a superb read, which I read in intense excitement.  I savored every dark word.
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First thank you Glenn Rolfe and Flame Tree Press for the absolute gift of this ARC for review, you all spoil me. 

John Colby is suffering from horrific nightmares setting him and his life off track. Tension in his work life and home life are growing and his nightmares are getting worse and more vivid. 

He has a feeling something is going to happen, there is something he has forgotten and the numerous graveyards in Spears Grove, Maine are becoming a compelling draw. 

Something has awakened and it’s about to tear John’s life apart. 

He needs to remember something soon, a lost memory, to save his friends and family. 

No spoilers. The author is absolute tops when it comes to multiple voices and characters in scenes from their point of view. You care about each and every one of them and truly despise the bad ones. 

The truth of the horrors  of Spears Gove isn’t handed to you on a plate but expertly revealed to the reader through various different sources as he weaves a supernatural and murderous backstory along side. I can’t reveal more without a spoiler alert. 

Some of the subject matter concerning child abduction and abuse can be a trigger for some. You’ve been warned. 

It’s no secret that I am a fan girl for this author. He and I beat some of the same paths in this part of Maine and his references to names and places I know always sets a tone for me because I can see them. I know them. Wow, this state has some weird ghost vibes. 

Grab a copy on release date 8/17/21. I finished In two days! I couldn’t put it down so get ready for a wild ride. 

Just please not in any creepy vans, you’ll see.
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August's Eyes by Glenn Rolfe is a mind trip horror that involves past trauma and dreams that can effect reality.  The novel was fast paced and has some scenes of horror that will get under your skin.  This book reminded me a lot of the Jennifer Lopez movie The Cell meets the villain from Joe Hill's N0S4A2. This book has a lot of fun pop culture references, and little bits of odd humor.  I liked and cared about the main character John or Johnny still being tormented by a mistake he made as a scared kid that represses in his living dreams.  This book is pretty brutal and not for everybody with trigger warnings of rape, abduction, and child abuse, book doesn't go into crazy detail but enough to unnerve the reader.  I want to think Glenn Rolfe who reached out to me on Goodreads and asked if I would like to read his book.  I want to think Flame Tree Press and netgalley for providing the book to me.  August Eye's by Glenn Rolfe was published on August 17th 2021.

The Plot: When John was a teenager he saw his friend Ethan get abducted into a van and was so terrified about it he repressed it.  John now has these dreams where he is a young teenager with two other boy's one with out eyes called August and anther boy called One Eye who has you guessed it one eye, they play in a graveyard land. The dreams scare him but also comfort him in some way. In real life John has a job which he hates, a great wife, after 2 failed pregnancies their relationship remains strained, his best friend is Pat a 16 year old neighbor kid with a mohawk.  The dreams start feeling more real when his dream starts getting scary and in real life John sees a van that terrifies him and feels like it is watching him.

What I Liked: I looked the talk about different books both nonfiction and fiction.  I liked the moment of wicked humor.  John was a great character that I could identify with, a man trying to good but sometimes royally screwing up.  August and the twist with his character was really good.  The climax was done really well and was a satisfying ending.  The dream scenes were my favorite and always interesting.  I loved all the pop culture references to the 90's during the flashback and the modern day pop culture.

What I Disliked: The plot line between Sarah and John and the tries for pregnancy, never felt like it belonged in this story.  I wanted something that dealt with John's repressed trauma, and tied it in to the story better.  I do not like the cover art for this, it should have been spiders coming out of eye holes in my opinion.

Recommendation: I recommend you checking out August Eye's if you are in need of a good horror that will trip your mind a little bit.  The trigger warnings of rape, child abuse, and abduction will keep some away but if you can stomach those things then this is a solid horror with a heart.  I rated August's Eyes by Glenn Rolfe 4 out of 5 stars.
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The ghosts of a man's past come back to haunt him in this twisted nightmare caught somewhere between a coming-of-age story and a mid-life crisis. A serial killer, ancient curse, and waking dream world join forces with depression, anxiety, and marital discord to weave a tangled web of grief where even sleep offers no escape.
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A unique fast paced coming of age story with many horror elements. One of my favorie things about this book was the characters. I had the feeling that I knew them in real life and having that conexion with the characters made the reading experience so much more intense.

There is also a lot of emotions packed into this novel and the ending is both tragic, but fitting. 

When John was a child, he witnessed something so traumatic that his mind has blocked it out. Now years later he is suffering from strange nightmares in which he is still a kid. John may have forgotten what he saw all those years ago, but it has not forgotten him! As his dreams begin to interfere with his real life they also threaten people around him, putting himself and his wife at risk.
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Glenn Rolfe does it again! August's Eyes is pure nightmare fuel. The characters are great and believable. The story is amazing, weaving history, native american curses and modern day fears together. Glenn does not disappoint!
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I loved this book’s cover before I even knew what it was about. This supernatural thriller/horror didn’t disappoint. I hadn’t read anything by Glen Rolfe before but will read more of his books. It maintained just the right pace throughout, allowing me to fully absorb this story, which while on the dark side, was compelling. There is a nice nod to the maestro Stephen King, who is undoubtedly a big influence on the author’s writing style.

I’ll add a trigger warning as this book does have paedophilia, kidnapping, and murder. They aren’t covered gratuitously, but are definitely disturbing. That said, the monster responsible could do with some time alone with Ramsey Bolton’s hounds from Game of Thrones.

Now, I liked John and Sarah very quickly, and found John’s flaws relatable. Meanwhile, One Eye and August were just creepy. I mean, well written, but creepy. The Spider’s took on a character of their own, or is that my intense arachnophobia talking. Seriously, I’m petrified of the bloody things.

I think the book is just the right length and the story maintains a good place throughout, although s it progressed I find myself wanting to read more quickly to find out what happens. I’m glad I didn’t race off because I really enjoyed the read.

Overall, August’s Eyes is a well written book from a top class author, and I’m happy to recommend it to any reader of horror/supernatural thrillers. I gave this book four stars.
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5 Stars!

I really do not know what I can say in praise of Glenn Rolfe.  He burst on to the scene several years ago, at least in my consciousness of the horror genre, and I have read everything from him that I can since then.  In the many books of his that I have read, I have never come across one that failed to entertain and scare me.  It is amazing that Rolfe has not received the wider acclaim that he deserves as one of the best in the genre.  Every new book by Rolfe is an event for me and I was happy to have a copy of August's Eyes and could not wait to see what chills lie under that wicked cover.

John and Sarah seemed like the perfect couple who had everything they could ever want in each other.  That was what the outside world saw.  What lurked under that happy surface, however, was a blight that kept a distance between the two.  The were in love but they wanted to spread that love in the world with a child.  This however was not to be.  John has become content with the life he shares with Sarah but she in unable to let go of her desire for a child.  They continue on and their love is true, but there is a dark blight that exists between them.  They both have demons from their past, Sarah's maybe the cause by their inability to have a child and John's through a darkness in his dreams.  It was manageable but it did keep them from achieving complete happiness.

Suddenly, however, John's dreams begin to leak into reality.  His conscious mind has locked away something from his past that is slowly beginning to wiggle free from his subconscious mind and infect his everyday life.  In a town that is filled with cemeteries that go back hundreds of years to when the land was inhabited solely by Native Americans, the past is slowly bringing its horror into the present.  As the dreams become stronger, John begins to lash out and question his sanity.  Everything he holds dear is threatened to be overcome by the past unless John is able to delve into his mind and exorcise the demons from his childhood that still live within him.

Glenn Rolfe is a very scary man and August's Eyes is another great example of this.  There are a couple different storylines in this novel and the blending of past and present could become confusing but Rolfe handles this with a deft hand and keeps the story focused and on track at all times.  The horror here is every present and seems very real so that the reader becomes almost consumed with the novel and a desire to see it through to the end.  The pacing is fast and there is little wasted words.  Even with this tight structure, there is no shortage of character building and the characters, most notably John and Sarah, seem to come to life on the page.  This is very entertaining and scary throughout.

What really sets the novel apart from its peers, however, is the emotion in this story.  The story not only entertains and terrifies but it also has an emotional aspect that makes it more real and relevant.  There is a very strong human aspect in August's Eyes that really makes the reader think about what is going on and why.  While the events of the novel are pure fiction, there is a beating heart behind it all.  From the couple's struggle with their inability to have children to the source of John's nightmares and through to the explosive ending, the reader feels sympathy for the characters even while searching the corners of the room to make sure the horror is not seeping out of the pages of the novel.  This is a very strong novel and probably the best horror novel I have read in a long time.

I would like to thank Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for this review copy.  August's Eyes is available now.
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In Glenn Rolfe’s latest, we enter some pretty messed up territory. While Blood and Rain is one of the most entertaining werewolf yarns out there, and When Summer Comes Around is a fantastically nostalgic coming of age / vampire story, August’s Eyes mines a much deeper vein of horror, and, despite the metaphysical elements, one that is far more realistic and disturbing.
John is having nightmares that he can’t understand, and when they start spilling out into the waking world, he begins to dig into his own past and his connection to a local cemetery.
As ever, Rolfe’s characters are realistic, sympathetic, and relatable. I really enjoy the little musical references that he peppers his books with, and once the book gets going, the horror really made my skin crawl. Generally, I won’t go for things that contain elements of child abuse or paedophilia, because that sort of thing just makes me feel sick. Rolfe manages to combine what, on the face of it initially seems like a case of simple repressed memories of an encounter with a child murderer into something genuinely creepy.
There are definite parallels with Joe Hill’s Nos4r2 once we get into the final act, but this is not a criticism as the book retains its own identity. In some respects, I’d say that August’s Eyes is even more disturbing that Joe Hill’s story.
August’s Eyes takes some very difficult to read themes and while not shying away from the specific horror, thankfully does not go into detail in a way that would have stopped me reading. Along with Rolfe’s easy, flowing style it makes for a fast, compelling, and horrifying novel.
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EXCELLENT HORROR WRITING AND STORYTELLING!

John and Sarah are a lovely and happily married young couple who are very much in love and the only thing missing right now from their lives is a baby.   Sarah aches for a family of their own while John is content with their li few at the moment.   The couple live in a small town where John grew up and almost everyone knows one another in this small place.  This is a town known for their many cemeteries since it's unusual history goes back a few hundred years to a native American Indian tribe which had reservations on this piece of land and unfortunately a serious bloody and nasty past that many of the residents haven't any knowledge of.   When John was a boy he witnessed a horror that his mind buried deeply within his subconscious until the present  time when suddenly he begins having frightening dreams night after night which starts putting a strain on his life and marriage until the nightmares become intertwined with reality and it's only a matter of time that not only is John's sanity is at risk but his life and anyone he loves may not survive this bizarre and horrific realm of death and evil personified.

WoW!   This was a book that hopefully only nightmares are made of.   The story was twisted, sick, spooky, creepy, bizarre and EMOTIONAL!   Glen Rolfe's writing and characterization was stellar.   If ever a cliche was fitting "This book is not for the faint of heart" has never been more true.   I haven't read a horror story in a long time that made me feeling the "heebie  jeebies".   Absolutely cringe worthy.   Now, with all that said I almost cried at the end.   The storytelling evoked immense emotion which has to  summarize the author as a great writer.   Usually today's horror books are so over the top with gore or nonsense that I feel very cheated by the time I've finished reading.   Don't get me wrong there is plenty of repulsive gore and all the nasties that go along with a horror story.   I cannot recommend this thrilling and chilling book to any  and all Horror Lovers!I

WARNING!   The subject matter is not for sensitive readers or anyone under 18 years of age.   

I want to thank first the author Glen Rolfe, the publisher "Flame Tree Press" and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this fantastic horror story and any thoughts and opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!

I have given this captivating book a rating of 5 TERRIFYINGLY CREEPY 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!!

Happy Publication Day!   August 17, 2021
Publisher:   Flame Tree Press
Author:   Glen Rolfe
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This is the first book I have read by Glenn Rolfe and I can't wait to read more of his work.  August's Eyes is creepy and disturbing, which is exactly what I was hoping for from this book.  I love how Sarah and John are realistic, they had good qualities but were also aggravating at times.  Neither of them were perfect and each had a variety of flaws which made them real and relatable.  I was thrilled (and creeped out) by the amazing details when describing August and One Eye.  I could really picture them in all their gruesome glory.  I felt that the story was unique and really kept my interest and I was satisfied with the ending.
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Don't read this if you want to sleep peacefully! This book is what dreams (or should I say nightmares) are made of. A very well done horror/chiller. Would for sure recommend for fans of the horror genre or for someone looking for a horror book to read during Halloween. I would not recommend for anyone under the age of 18 though as there is some sensitive material.
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This was the first book by Glenn Rolfe that I have had the pleasure of reading, and it will not be the last! I absolutely LOVED this book. With equal parts horror and mystery, this book was a thriller until the very last page. The fast pace of everything makes sure that you are flipping pages until you discover what is really happening. 

John Colby was once a young boy who saw something that he should not have. His developing mind blocked it from memory, but it continues to haunt him. The legacy of one of the darkest serial killers that his small town has faced hangs over him and casts dark shadows on his life. 

The main characters despite facing some dark struggles, were likable and you as the reader will root for them. John's journey into his inner psyche to discover the secrets of his childhood. This story is a dark blend of the themes of coming of age and not letting your past define you. Check this book out, because you will not be disappointed.
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TW/CW: Pedophilia, child abuse, Taphephobia, kidnapping, child murder, alcoholism, homophobia, reference to miscarriage, Transphobia, Arachnophobia, Suicide, and emotional abuse.

Spears Corner, Maine may be one of the evilest places on Earth. The small town is the birthplace of the “Ghoul of Wisconsin”, a pedophilic kidnapper/serial killer who would give John Wayne Gacy a run for his money. It also has a bloody history of Native American genocide when white colonists came to take their land for settlement. Boasting twelve cemeteries, you could say that the town is well acquainted with death.
In 1994, 14-year-old Johnny Colby witnesses a horrific incident and immediately blocks it out in self-preservation.

Decades later, nightmares about young boys hanging around a graveyard are wreaking havoc on social worker John Colby’s life—he’s barely sleeping, his wife is concerned, and his boss is on his case about his slipping job performance. John is taunted by one known as August during these nightmares. August seems to know John, but John doesn’t recognize him. All John knows is that the boys of “Graveyard Land” want to make a permanent place for him.

Soon, his nightmares bleed over into his daily life, and he begins seeing August while awake. When August begins to target his loved ones, John must confront his past to see if there is a connection to the torment they are facing. 

This was a fun read for me as I had never read a story of Glenn Rolfe’s before this one. It is an engrossing coming-of-age story that gave me strong Stephen King-like vibes. I loved the world-building and the nods not only to pop culture but also all the name-dropping of other authors that Rolfe included. Most of all, I loved the character of Patrick in the story. He is the true hero of this story in my eyes. 

While there were some creepy elements, such including spiders heavily in the story, I didn’t have any big scares. The scariest part of the story is that the “monster” of the story is human—a serial killer with pedophilic tendencies. There are sections of this book that describe the sexual assault of the victims of the serial killer that were especially uncomfortable to read and nearly led me to DNF (not finish) this book. The story does pay off and I’m glad that I stuck with it to see the end result.

4/5 Stars
Many thanks to #NetGalley and #FlameTreePress for providing me with an eARC of this book to read and review, in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Gahhhh.

That's the only word that adequately describes my feelings after reading this book. 
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That, or perhaps jkrstycuwknshtjshd!!!
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But... .in the best possible way.
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What this book had: ghosts, monsters, the evil of human depravity, creepy dreams, shamanic magic, and a place called Graveyard Land.
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GRAVEYARD LAND. Which seems like it should be way too kitschy to be scary but think of it in the same terms as Joe Hill's Christmasland. 
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I don't even know how to talk about this book. My brain is still processing it. I loved it, though I  hated reading the chapters written from the bad guy's perspective. They made my skin crawl. That guy deserves his comeuppance a thousand times over. By the way: content warning - pedophilia/rape/child abuse.
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And then at the end I cried. I don't know when the last time was that a book made me cry! We have this creepy story with these horrific things happening and then it makes me CRY.

Ugh. I'm a mess after this one. A dang fine story, Glenn Rolfe.
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August’s Eyes by Glenn Rolfe 

⭐️⭐️⭐️🌟

“When the past leaks out of dreams” 

This story revolves around John Colby - an adult who is experiencing really weird, serial nightmares. This becomes more concerning for him when his dreams seem to seep into reality and the scary children he envisions in his dreams appear outside of his dreams… in real life. 

John, with a little help from those around him have to find out the links between his dreams, his reality and his past before it’s too late... 

TRIGGER WARNING: this book is styled and described as a horror story. There are some difficult themes in the book including assault and kidnap early on in the book. I believe it is especially important for anyone picking up this book to know that it features child abuse/assault and features a pedophile serial killer - none of this was mentioned in the description of the book and was totally unexpected when I read it. Although the scenes are not explicit or graphic as such and more suggestive or threats rather than actions it absolutely needs pointed out before anyone picks it up! 

However I’m not a recurring horror reader as such so these themes may be a bit more common in horror stories - this was my first trip through a horror book since I read ‘IT’ on a lilo years ago!

Overall this book was well written and an easy read and it has left me a little bit freaked - that’s the point of a horror right?
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August's Eyes checked a lot of boxes for me. Coming-of-age. Weird dreams. Memory loss. Grief. Redemption.

John has begun having strange dreams about being a 12-year-old boy in Graveyard Land, where he needs to pick his grave. August and One-Eye have already picked their graves, and it's Johnny's turn. In his waking life, John is a stressed out social worker. He attributes the dreams to his stress and decides to take a vacation. But the dreams aren't from work. He watched his friend Ethan get abducted and killed as a child, and forgot all about it. In his dreams, his guilt is eating him alive.

This book was such a fun time. There were a lot of 90s nods, and while I was a bit small in the 90s, I still appreciated it. Knowing Glenn from his social media presence really made it a bit special for me. I also really enjoyed the social worker plot. John is such a good man, and I loved watching how he interacted with Pat and his family.

The only thing about this book I didn't enjoy was a spoiler, but for those who have read the book, you probably know which part I'm talking about. It's a different reaction for different people, and I'm sure other people won't react as badly as I have.

The ending also had me in tears. A good book is a book that made you cry.

Thank you to Net Galley, Flame Tree Press, and Glenn Rolfe for this advanced review copy! August's Eyes releases August 17th.
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John is being haunted by dreams of Graveyard Land. He will have to face his past encounter with a serial killer to protect his friends and family.

August's Eyes is a mix of realistic horror of a serial killer that goes after young teenage boys and the supernatural. I really enjoyed the supernatural element within the story, but the realistic horror is what really scared me.

The main character John is a well developed flawed character. All the supporting characters are also well developed. The antagonists in the story are the kind of characters that will leave anyone unsettled and disturbed.

I would recommend this book for those that can handle the subject matter of a pedophile serial killer . If you like a realistic horror novel with an interesting supernatural element this book might be for you.
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AUGUST'S EYES by Glenn Rolfe is a fast-paced coming-of-age horror story with a variety of elements at play. It straddles the past and present as well as reality and a nightmare world. Grief and pain are at the forefront, but there is also a serial killer, monsters, and terrifying scenes that transcend the real world. Good vs evil is a prevalent theme throughout. Rolfe creates compelling characters with depth, and you cannot help but feel for them on this journey. I became so attached to John and his past mistakes, current struggles, and how he was going to make sense of it all and come out on top. From his thoughts to what music he listens to, John felt like a friend of mine that I might have known forever.

I appreciated the random sprinkling of real-life connections and nostalgia, from a Taylor Swift song to 'old man Kiesling out on Devil's Creek Lane.' Side note: Devil's Creek by Todd Kiesling is a fantastic book and Rolfe played his hand here. And finally, mentions of some of my favorite movies like The Burbs and The Night of the Creeps helped pull me even deeper into the story. Rolfe does a great job at making this story wrap you up like a cozy blanket before all the horror breaks loose.

The ending. That ending. A few of those final paragraphs right before the epilogue turned on the waterworks. So much raw emotion there and I think it has a large part to do with how invested in these characters, their safety, and their happiness I became. Rolfe knocks it out of the park with AUGUST'S EYES.
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My first experience of Rolfe was Until Summer Comes Around, a unique blend of violent horror and teen romance that was somehow both cute and scary. Heart warming horror? Strangely it worked for me. But this? August's Eyes? Do not expect any warm fuzzies here!

You should know going in that August's Eyes features rape and paedophilia, thankfully the scenes are not graphic, mostly we're dealing with threat and suggestion. Enough to turn my stomach but not deter me from the book entirely.

Rolfe wields all the spookies for August's Eyes, from spiders, graves and ghouls to abduction and violence, the action doesn't stop as dreams and reality flow together to tell a heartbreaking story.

John the main character has good development across this moralistic story which is mostly told from his POV in both present, dream form and past.
I really connected with Pat, a teen boy busting his ass to try and make honest money after a hard upbringing. He's such a genuine and kind character with just the right amount of cheeky attitude. I rooted for him the moment he stepped into the story.
John's therapist Dr Soctomah is a welcome addition that furthers the plot nicely and ties together the Graveyard Land scenario.

I've never been a fan of authors using brand names in their writing unless it has specific relevance. Maybe it's because I read for escapism, or because it dates the story? For example- if a kid is eating cereal I don't need to know its Coco Pops, if someone puts music on I don't care whether it's on Spotify or YouTube, it doesn't matter to me which specific 2021 cartoon is playing on the TV in the corner. I found in August's Eyes that every little thing is branded and it pulled me away from the story a little. A minor complaint that probably doesn't faze other readers at all, just niggles at me for some reason. Other than that I highly rate August's Eyes, a fantastic -if brutal- mix of horror and thriller.
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