Dead Eyes

Dead Eyes by EV Knight

On June 4, 1966, “Dead-Eye” Dave Darrow murdered and mutilated a group of teenagers at his family’s home. His sister’s disappearance, his subsequent escape from the asylum, and a slew of deaths and missing persons surrounding the home have given birth to some wild local theories.

Twenty years later, Lisa Thompson needs to finish her exposé on the infamous Darrow story to ensure her full ride scholarship to U.C. Berkley’s School of Journalism. But the problem is, she
doesn’t have a killer ending. The girl moving in to the Darrow’s old place could be Lisa’s lucky break. But new blood in the house and Lisa’s research awaken something or someone evil and murders begin anew in spectacular fashion.

Will Lisa uncover the truth within the Darrow house, or will she and her friends die trying?

The IndieMuse Review

The Breakfast Club meets Nightmare

When I review a new book, I like to try and pick two films to compare it to, to give you a ballpark idea of what to expect from it, and to provide a quick and easy reference to gauge whether it’s something you want to read. I don’t do it for all my reviews but if I can think of a good comparison, it’s a fun tool to use. When it came to Dead Eyes, book 18 in Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series, SO MANY sprang to mind! Just a few that didn’t make the cut are;

  1. Carrie meets Maniac
  2. Clueless meets The House on Sorority Row
  3. Wes Craven’s Nancy Drew
  4. Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets Funhouse

Dead Eyes is such a joyous ode to ’80s cinema that its influences are numerous and worn proudly on its sleeve. Even a casual film fan will spot dozens of subtle nods, fun homages and overt references to many classic movies of the era.

Lisa is a budding journalist, finishing her final year of high school in a town with a bloody history. She is working on an article on the infamous Darrow Funeral Home murders, which she hopes will be enough to earn her a scholarship in a prestigious college next year. When a new girl and her mother move into the now legendary murder house, Lisa is quick to befriend her, unable to resist the opportunity to finally get inside the house and find that missing piece to the puzzle that will complete her research. Lisa soon finds out, however, that the local legends of the Darrow house may have more truth to them than she thought and instead of solving the murders, she may well become the next victim.

A lot of the book plays out at a high school, with all the usual cliques and clubs present and accounted for. There is a huge cast of characters, including the popular kids (referred to here as the ‘richies’), the jocks, the new kid, the horror obsessed outcasts, and the ‘normals’, like Lisa, who is our narrator in the story. The article on the Darrow murders that she is writing is cleverly used within the story to relay all the relevant background of the town and its history in an interesting and organic way, without the need for characters clumsily reciting dialogue to fill us in.

It is impressive quite how much Knight manages to pack into a 73-page novella. We’re presented with an intriguing mystery linked to a missing family, a sprawling cast of memorable characters and some gruesome set pieces, all of which build up to a franticly paced finale that rivals any ’80s slasher you care to name in terms of over the top and inventive deaths.

Dead Eyes is pure ’80s horror entertainment, elevated by relatable characters and a creative premise, it was an absolute joy to read, and one that you won’t be able to resist devouring in a single sitting.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.