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Publisher's Summary

Twenty-six years after The Damned Place, Jim Dalton is now chief of police in the formerly sleepy town of Winnsboro, where a series of brutal murders leads him to believe something insidious is lurking just beneath the surface.

As he meets with his childhood friends, the scope of what they hoped was left behind in the woods all those years ago begins to come into focus, and they realize they are once more all that stands in the way of a hungry beast from outside of reality and global destruction.

Ours isn’t the first world The Glutton has devoured, and if Jim and his friends can’t find the key to destroying it, it won’t be the last. The Damned Place left its stain, and now mankind’s only hope rests within The Damned Ones.

©2020 Chris Miller (P)2020 Chris Miller

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A Superior Sequel

The Damned Ones picks up the threads left behind by The Damned Place 26 years after the horrific conclusion in the forest outside of Winnsboro, TX. The four children have grown up and gone their separate ways, largely relegating the memories of that fateful--and fatal--day to their nightmares. And while they've mostly forced themselves to forget what happened, believing it to be a thing of the past, The Glutton has not forgotten, and neither has Jake Reese, still trapped in the dying world where Jim Dalton had left him.
When a woman disappears, and her distraught mother calls the police, it's Chief Jim Dalton who answers the call. Signs of violence point toward something awful happening in the woman's apartment, and it's only the first of many terrible disappearances to plague Winnsboro, all having something to do with Norman Reese, Jake's younger brother. No less mad, and driven by religious fervor and the pressure of a tumor in his brain, Norman might be precisely what The Glutton needs to force his way into our world.
Jim, Honey, Ryan, and Freddie must come together again to face the monster they hoped they'd left in another world before our world becomes a desolate and dying place as well.
Chris Miller raises the stakes and ramps up the violence for his follow-up to The Damned Place, pulling no punches as he lays out the welcome mat for The Glutton to join us in rural Texas. Mysterious disappearances and secrets from the past have managed to fester long enough that the abscess on the edge of our universe has no choice but to burst and fill our world with its infected burden.
Daniel Caravetta again provides excellent narration for the audiobook, following the children seamlessly into adulthood and bringing their deeply embedded trauma to life. Norman's harsh and nasal shrieking dialogue was exceptional, and stood out as a high point in the narration.

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glad I picked this up

much better than the first one. Much better than I had hoped for. good job

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Not as good as the first one, but still worth it

So this is a hard one for me to write considering how much I loved The Damned Place, the book to which this is the sequel. Parts of this book are great, I love the concept or returning to the narrative almost 30 years after the original incident, but I think something was lost in that time skip.

Let me start, as always, with the good:

The narration, once again, is top notch. Daniel Caravetta is able to perform in such a way that the story is improved in every way. He breathes so much life in the characters and narration that it's hard to stop listening.

The world and the descriptions Chris Miller uses are fantastic. Within the first few minutes of listening I was already disgusted (in a good way) by descriptions and scenarios the characters were in. The world itself, though you only see a bit of a small town, works well and feels fleshed out, and the mysteries of the "dead world" and where the villain came from are explored, but in such a way that that your imagination can fill in the blanks and make the horror work even better.

There wasn't a lot of incest and sexual depictions involving minors in this one, which yeah, there were still scenes of that nature in this book, but the times it was used worked with the narrative to a point where they felt justified and necessary. Again, I have no problem with scenes of this nature in general, but the last book seemed to overuse them.

Now for the "I don't know":

I'm conflicted on the villain, however. Yes, you get to learn more about "The Glutton," but I think the more we learn about him and the more we see him, the less interesting he is to me. He doesn't seem like an otherworldly or eldritch force to me. He seems more like some guy who happens to have a brutal amount of strength. I don't really see him as something capable of destroying worlds, which the book says he's done multiple times. But maybe I'm wrong here. Maybe he works for other people in a way that he doesn't for me.

I also feel like the book should have been a lot longer than it was. This is supposed to be a conclusion to the story which built up after the villain amassed power for almost 30 years, but it kind of feels like an epilogue to the first book as opposed to a full fleshed-out standalone book. Again, it might be a personal feeling on that.

Now for the bad and... oh boy...

First off, The Cow. I'm trying not to spoil too much in this review, so forgive me using an alternative name. The Cow was a big part of the first book and very menacing and felt like a real threat. In this book? He feels under used and underdeveloped. He goes from wishing death on the characters from the first book and stewing on that revenge for decades to turning on the main baddie at the end and just kind of not being used. He really feels like a leftover string from the previous book that was left unresolved and Miller needed to tie it off but didn't have an idea to make him a big part of this narrative.

Maybe there will be another book in this series? I'm not sure. All I know is that I'm glad I read this book, yes, but there was a lot going on in it that could have been handled much better to prop up the events of the first book to make me like both even better.

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