Review: A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries

Rating: ★★★☆☆+


Sometimes, survival is a sin.

Amity Collins has been deaf since she was seven. That was the day the wild dogs attacked, fighting for her bones. The day her father died. This trip to Thailand is exactly what Amity and her brother, Caleb, need—freedom.

As their boat slits through saltwater, Amity, Caleb and the other passengers are having the time of their lives. They watch the island emerge on the horizon. Its trees twitch, as though impatient or hungry. Within its shadows, secrets best kept hidden will be unearthed. Sacrifices will be made. Terror will reach out to grasp Amity, as real and frightening as what’s lurking in the dark.


Thanks to the publisher and author for a digital copy of A Place for Sinners in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy of the book did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

I ended up reading A Place for Sinners alongside some of my favorite Insta-peeps, and while I was slowed by a stomach virus and a short family vacation, I was able to finish in time to be able to write one of the first reviews of the group. I want to thank my SINNERS group for a fantastic buddy-read and I hope we can have more in the future :D.

Ever finish a story and ask yourself: “Just WTF did I get done reading?”
A Place for Sinners, while not the first novel to have me asking that of myself, easily fits in the category. It was a complete mindf#$k of a read and will have you rethinking those long-awaited plans of vacationing abroad. Dries is an author whom I have had no experience with whatsoever, but is one I can wholly recommend for readers who enjoy novels that pull absolutely no punches.

While the opening couple of chapters reel you in with subtle horror and survival elements, introducing you to Amity and her brother, Caleb, the story of their past and how they got to this point in their lives, the author then takes the opportunity to send you running for the hills. When I say Dries doesn’t pull punches, you have to take me 100% at my word. This story becomes borderline terrifying. Unsettling yes, but that is child’s play compared the utter insanity that unfolds for the cast. The story is unrelenting for pages upon pages while vicious slaughter is rained down, blood is released in flows that would make the Mississippi blush, and pure terror is bestowed upon those looking for a little slice of adventure.

And no, the entire novel isn’t just one giant bloodbath. There is a love-story, people dealing with physical and mental disabilities/disorders, destructive tendencies, chaotic home lives, etc. But it is difficult to let those things be the focus when you have no idea what is around the corner. I mean, someone gets f#$ked with a machete. Who does that?!?!?!?!

While the first half of the novel is beyond bonkers, the 2nd half loses some of the gusto I came to (enjoy?) and went more into the bizarre camp. I liked how we had all of these POVs and seeing the action in each account only to narrow the focus toward the end. Not that this is a bad thing and some may enjoy the change of pace, but I felt that it sort of lost a step.

This novel is not for the casual horror fan that only reads Stephen King or Joe Hill. It isn’t even for those who dabble in themed novels like the occult, vampires, zombies, etc. This one is for the true horror-fiends that want to be scared out of their minds; those who need something to keep them up at night and constantly watching their backs. A Place for Sinners is not for the faint of heart or ones who are even a tad bit squeamish. I may put this one up there with The Troop as the only two (2) novels that consistently made my uncomfortable.

Think you’re ready for it? Good luck, amigo.

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