Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review ~ Thrill by Wendy Potocki ~ Excerpts

by Wendy Potocki

Date Published: February 14, 2014


Kyle Evans is a teenager who wants to be somebody. To achieve his goal, he joins a gang called Hell's Bells. While he thinks he's arrived, he only finds danger.

The club is obsessed with finding thrills and taking chances, but Kyle’s unaware that there’s a price to pay. Up for a dare, he accepts a challenge that lands him on the wrong side of the supernatural.

My Review:
5 out of 5 stars

How far would you go to be accepted? This story takes the reader inside one kid's desperate search for acceptance and his willingness to do anything for that matter what the costs.

Sixteen year old Kyle has been bullied for most of his life and when he transfers to a new high school has given himself permission to redefine who he is.  His family life is troubling as his father is spending less and less time with them, and his mother is going through life totally clueless.  Trying to fit in and be tougher, Kyle joins a 'thrill' club called Hell's Bells, a gang of shady characters that love the adrenaline rush and don’t take any crap from anyone.  Seems to me, he went from being bullied to being a bully.  Abandoning his true friends, he will do anything to fit in with this new group, and I mean anything.  The initiation into this club had me holding my breath and screaming at him, NO NO NO STOP!....I mean what good is trying to get in the club if you end up dying the first day? Each game that is 'played' will make you cringe and your heart pound.  You really can't believe that these kids don't value their lives and the lives of others.  One night, one of their games goes extremely bad and an innocent man is killed; and this is where the true horror begins.  Karma is a bitch my friends, and she is out for revenge! 

This was the first time I have read anything from Wendy Potocki, and I must admit, I was extremely surprised with this book. It is not one for the faint of heart though as there are some gruesome scenes. From page one, the plot pulls you in and keeps you in its grasp the entire time.  There was never a dull moment in this story.  The characters have so much depth and are so well-developed you can't help but either feel sorry for them or really dislike them.  Ms. Potocki truly has a talent for writing an absolutely frightening horror novel and I can't wait to read more from this outstanding author!

And to give you a glimpse of what is in store when you read this book, here are two excerpts for your reading enjoyment.

Excerpt 1
Ky awoke, groggy from last night’s fiasco. Feeling as if he’d been run over by a truck, he’d been plagued by nightmares that had lasted the whole night. The game they’d played with Digger was relived in vivid detail, but Ky’s darkest imagination had rewritten the scene, twisting it like a garrote around a non-compliant neck.
He’d dreamt he was alone and wandering the darkened streets of Spooky Town. On a mission, he was trying to find Digger. As he approached the park, he stayed near the curb. More concerned with the broken glass than any other danger, a gnarled pair of hands reached out from sewers and latched onto his ankles. Whatever lived underground tried to drag him through the grated opening, the howl of that accursed dog sending ripples of fear through his heart.
Although the unearthly sound portended a gruesome death, Kyle tried to fight off the fingers that had gained a firm hold. He kicked the filthy hands away, running into Needle Park to escape. Pairs of luminescent eyes watched him flounder. Some orbs stationed in the sky, others hid behind bushes. They knew he didn’t belong in this part of town, but Ky had no choice. He had to help his father and to do that, he needed to find Digger.
The blue of the derelict’s blanket acted as a grave marker. Finding Digger huddled under it, Ky dangled a bottle of liquor in front of the old man. He didn’t have to prompt him any further. Ky pulled Hans from his jacket pocket. Digger took the weapon into his shaking hands, examining it by the light of the fire. Inappropriate hysteria broke through the vagrant’s mouth, the round of guffaws causing saliva to froth like boiling milk. It dribbled onto the thatch of hair on his chin. The thick mucus threaded its way through the strands entwined with mildew.
The roaring blaze illuminated the disaster, but Ky didn’t want to see. He tried closing his eyes, but he was forced to listen to the damned hound belting out its tune. At least the wailing covered up the frivolity emanating from Digger’s throat.
It was the alcohol producing the erratic behavior. The blue eyes diluted by years of substance abuse scanned the grounds that acted as the stage for this drama. The clusters of trees drooped like moth-eaten fans, their branches shading the larcenous activities. Digger hesitated, his graying head stilling as he whispered in Kyle’s ear.
“Anything happens to me, son, that dog is gonna getcha!”
Kyle pulled back, frightened from the outrageous statement. Digger leveled his eyes and placed the barrel of the gun to his temple.
Crepey lids covered the eyes that had seen it all, but a startling newer pair was painted on top. Like Horus’ eye, these were all seeing and ceaseless in their watch. They drank in Kyle, all the while putting a hex on him that would last until eternity.
Digger’s hand was trembling. Mumbling a prayer, he pulled the trigger, but this time there was no hollow ineffectual click. Instead, a fertile, omnipotent blast shattered Kyle’s ears. As he watched in horror, the single bullet ripped through the old man’s skull, splattering gray matter on the bushes directly behind. Chunks of bone and temporal lobes combined to make a morbid goulash. The flames gave just enough illumination for Kyle to witness the entire fiendish conclusion, but instead of feeling horror, in the dream, all Ky felt was a thrill.

Excerpt 2
“Ah, Kyle, could you have a seat, please?” Zelinski greeted.
Always trying to be everyone’s friend, Hobbit failed miserably. The nickname of a Tolkien character was perfect for him. With his slight stature and his out-of-date clothing, everyone agreed that it suited him better than his given monicker.
“Sure,” Kyle slurred, dropping his books on Hobbit’s desk. The principal shut the door as Ky seated himself in one of two chairs. The principal’s shod hairy feet closed in, but Kyle ignored the intrusion. As Zelinski took his place behind the oversized desk, Kyle wondered if Hobbit was going to have to prop himself up on textbooks to see over the top.
“I suppose you’re wondering why you were called here,” the student’s best friend started. Stating the obvious, was it really going to go down like that? Kyle didn’t know about Zelinski, but he was in no mood for this. No mood at all.
“Yeah! Of course, I was!” Kyle snapped. Short-tempered, he stopped just short of getting tossed out of school for a few days. He’d rather take his own days off than have this asshole make his decisions for him. 
Zelinski took the flippant reply as a joke. Chuckling good-naturedly, the misidentification pissed Kyle off even more, but he decided to leave it alone.
“This is about the incident involving a …” Pausing in the explanation, Zelinski picked up a file on his desk. Adjusting the frames of his glasses, he continued, “…Garvin Oto. His computer club was vandalized a few nights ago.” 
Bracing himself, Kyle dug his fingernails into the arm of the uncomfortable chair. Did the school purposely choose them for the express purpose of causing visitors as much agony as possible? Kyle ran through the events of that evening, trying to figure out where he and Carnie had gone wrong. What mistake had they made that led old Zelinski straight to him?
He decided to let Hobbit do the talking. Most suspects got themselves into trouble by yapping too much, but nothing like that was going to happen. Kyle was too smart and being too well schooled to deliberately walk into quicksand.
Zelinski peered at him unassumingly over the beige rims of his glasses. The oatmeal color matched his pasty complexion. Pursing his lips, the none-too-bright administrator was playing a waiting game. With no utterance forthcoming, the silence became too much. Switching tactics, the administrator began shoveling garbage at the tight-lipped teenager, hoping the smell would stick.
“Know anything about it?”
“Just what I heard.”
“Which is?”
“Not much.”
Pressing his thumbs together, Kyle was satisfied by how everything was going. Not volunteering any information, Zelinski tried to trick the youngster into revealing his hand. 
“And where did you hear about it?”
“Here and there.”
Taking off his glasses, the principal dropped his forearms to the desktop.
“Kyle, you’re making this very difficult. There’s no reason for you to be so circumspect; this is just a very, very, very informal talk.”
Yeah, and Everest is just another mountain.
Kyle didn’t bite.
“Sorry you feel that way …. sir.” Adding the respectful term, he congratulated himself on finally understanding how to deal with authority. You BS the bastards to death.
“It’s all right, Kyle,” the rabbity man intoned, his sort-of-brown eyes getting all squishy. The same affectation occurred every time Hobbit tried to understand the challenges of being a troubled teen. While being compassionate had its place, Kyle would have preferred him just pulling out a gun and shooting at him. At least it would be more honest.
“The reason why I was asking how you learned about it was because a school monitor … a Curtis Mumford,” he said, referring to his notes, “noticed an altercation. Naturally, he reported to me.
“An altercation?”
“Yes, that is what was described.”
“And you’re telling this to me because why?”
“I’m mentioning it because it involved you and Garvin Oto. Kyle, the fight happened right before two boys broke in the school and destroyed property that will be quite costly for the school to replace.”
“Fight? You keep referring to this as a physical confrontation. I mean, did you talk to Garvin? What did he say? Did he think it was an ‘altercation’?”
“That’s not the point, Kyle.”
“I think it is, sir.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll answer your question,” he said leaning forward, and gesturing with the glasses held in his hand. “Garvin said nothing happened and that it was an accident.”
“Well, then …?”
“You see, Kyle, we’ve learned that sometimes students that are being bullied or threatened are reticent to admit they are for fear of retaliation. Therefore, they often become enablers by covering up the criminal behavior. Now I am not in any way saying that you did any of that. I want to be clear about that. It’s just that there are no leads and … well, frankly, what Garvin said was very peculiar. You see, in my interview with Garvin, he stated that you two were friends. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you, Kyle?”
“Not really, sir.”
Zelinski twisted in his chair, persisting in over explaining. He was telling Kyle way more than he needed to—and enough for Ky to mount an effective defense. Kyle was happy about Garvin. His former buddy was all right. In spite of everything Wax had said and his own doubts on Garvin’s character, his old friend knew when to keep his mouth shut.
“Well, then, let me try to be more specific. If you two are friends, then why on earth would you shove him with a force so volatile that he dropped his books?”
“It was a pad, sir.”
“I’m sorry, Kyle. I have down here, ‘books.’”
“And what did Garvin say?”
“Well, let’s see. I took some notes,” he said, leafing through the pages in the file. Putting his glasses back on, his eyes darted side to side as he read. “Ah!” he exclaimed, snatching the glasses from the bridge of his nose and tapping them on the wooden surface. Leaning back, his stubby leg crossed one just as crimped. “Yes, you are correct, Kyle. He states it was a notebook.” 
Relaxing, Kyle’s legs spread apart. His arms closed around the chair’s frame as he placed his hands on his stomach. He was on firm ground.
“Well, how much credence can you give a report that is inaccurate, sir?”

Wendy Potocki

Wendy Potocki lives and writes in NYC. If that isn't scary enough, she writes in the genre of horror. She feels creating good horror is an art form. She religiously devotes herself to pursuing it over hill and dale -- and in the crevices of her keyboard.
Named one of the Top Ten "New" Horror Authors by Horror Novel Reviews, she has seven self-published novels. Book trailers for many of her works may be found on her official website Her newest frightmare is Thrill. It’s a non-stop chillfest and has been attracting a lot of attention. Her next planned projects are The Witch's Stone, The Virgin, and ZaSo, a Gothic tale of horror. Please subscribe to her mailing list for updates and giveaway information.
In her spare time, she loves to go for long walks, drink Starbucks Apple Chai Lattes, make devotional offerings to her cat named Persephone and be stilled by the grace, beauty and magic of ballet.


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