I didn’t find out that Stranger Still was a sequel to Strangers until after finishing the book and reading the Author’s Note. Oops.
I didn’t notice because the only confusing part with a steep learning curve is in the prologue as the story poetically introduces Legion (who used to be One). Even still, this book immediately became one of my favorite horrors, for reasons I’ll explain.
Quick Plot Introduction:
Danielle is a lawyer who strives to give criminals only the justice they need. She’s newly wed to Alex, and during their drive to their honeymoon, they’re kidnapped by Sheldon Steward (a happy torturer), and taken to Marcos (a meth-maker staging a revolution in the Russian mob). Legion follows as the Byronic Hero that he is.
Anything from Legion’s perspective is in Present Tense, which would normally throw me off, (especially when the other four perspectives are in Past Tense), but the writing and story flowed well enough that I usually didn’t notice the change of tenses for a couple paragraphs.
The characters are what really make this book gleam (they would shine, but it’s a horror). They each have tormenting flaws and some righteous reasoning for their actions. By chapter five, I wanted a series about Legion (lucky me, there’s the first book), who Kronks it out with his shoulder angel and devil. I was surprised to find myself rooting for Legion and laughing with Sheldon despite their twisted characters.
There are some interesting themes about punishments for crimes/sins, though I suppose that’s only expected when you put a lawyer, mobster, torturer, and morals fanatic in a chamber. (That sounds like the beginning of a bad joke).
Speaking of bad jokes, I had to laugh in chapter twelve at the words “I’m so tired…” considering Michaelbrent Collings’ Facebook posts during Covid-19.
Stranger Still is relatively clean for a horror. There’s enough swearing to rate this PG-13, but not R (no F-bombs!). There are sexual references, groping, and rape threats, but no sex scenes. The gore is mostly methodical torture, not slasher.
Reading this book made me realize that my Don’t Date the Haunted (Amazon link) was not a horror, but a romance. I wrote my books with the idea of classic horrors, like Dracula, that start slow and more mysterious than frightening. Stranger Still has some blood or disturbing scene in every chapter. This is true contemporary horror.
To anyone who enjoys reading horror, I definitely recommend this one. It’s creepy, comical, and intriguing.
*****4.8 Stars**** That might shift one or two tenths after I read Strangers.
PS. I hope the next Legion book deals with Lucy. There’s definitely something creepy to develop there.
PPS. I’m an official beta reader for Michaelbrent Collings, so you can expect more reviews of books by him. 🙂
UPDATE: You can now read my reviews for Stranger Danger (#3) and Stranger Sins (#4 – which DOES deal with “Lucy!”)
5 replies on “It Gets Stranger Still”
[…] make you want to read “Strangers,” so you might as well start there with book 1.I did a review on “Stranger Still” (book 2) to explain why it’s one of my favorite horrors and why I was so excited for this […]
[…] possibly team up with Legion must be interesting. (In case you missed them, here are my reviews for “Stranger Still” and “Stranger Danger”).I’m really not sure how John Doe would fit into the mix […]
[…] I didn’t see coming, and if they aren’t rolling-on-the-floor hilarious (like “Stranger Still“) they’re deeply thought-provoking (like […]
[…] about Legion made me extra excited about Michaelbrent Collings’ upcoming book, Book 4 in his Legion Series (where Legion is the nickname of a chaotic good […]
[…] of book 4.Also, Stranger Still is such a fun horror, I recommend it anyway.Here are my reviews for Stranger Still (#2) and Stranger Danger […]