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Crime Thriller

Daphne by Josh Malerman

Daphne by Josh Malerman
Published by Orion Publishing Group on September 20, 2022
ISBN: 9781409193111
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Crime, Mystery & Detective, General
Pages: 260
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon
three stars - Daphne by Josh Malerman

Horror has a new name: Daphne. A brutal, enigmatic woman stalks a girls high school basketball team in a reimagining of the slasher genre by the New York Times bestselling author of Bird Box.
It's the last summer for Kit Lamb: the last summer before college. The last summer with her high school basketball team, and with Dana, her best friend. The last summer before her life begins.
But the night before the big game, one of Kit's players tells a ghost story about Daphne, a girl who went to their school many years ago and died under mysterious circumstances. Some say she was murdered, others that she died by her own hand. And some say that Daphne is a murderer herself. They also say that Daphne is still out there, obsessed with revenge, and will appear anytime someone thinks about her to kill again.
After Kit hears the story, her teammates vanish, one by one, and Kit begins to suspect that the stories about Daphne are real...and to fear that her own mind is conjuring the killer. Now it's a race against time as Kit searches for the truth behind the legend and learns to face her own fears. Or else the summer of her lifetime will become the last summer of her life.
Mixing a nostalgic coming-of-age story and an instantly iconic female villain with an innovative new vision of classic horror, this is an unforgettable thriller as only Josh Malerman could imagine it.

Daphne hits you hard and fast right from the beginning. Put on your Nikes and get ready for the most exciting run of your life!

The start of the story is a bit slow, and I felt that it was let down slightly by the pace. I had heard so many great things about Malerman’s work and I wanted to give it the best chance. Midway through it really started gaining momentum and I was all in. the seatbelt was engaged, and I braced my hands on the dashboard, expecting to get my head caved in at any moment.

Kit Lamb and her friends are having a sleepover, and what’s the best way to have an enjoyable night…you guessed it, by scaring the excrement clean out of your friends by sharing the story of local legend, Daphne. A story that everyone knows but doesn’t speak of in Samhattan. The story goes, if you think of her, she will come and she will kill you. Reminded me a bit of Friday 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street – this is in no way a bad thing, I’m a sucker for cringey 80’s horror.

Daphne has a lot in common with the girls of Samhattan High basketball team. She attended school around the time their parents did. She was a huge girl, around seven feet tall, clad in denim and a social outcast, aficionado of kiss make up. She was killed horrifically at the hands of her fellow classmates and since then the legend of Daphne lives on, in a box that nobody ever opens, if you think about Daphne, she will come for you.

Can I just say how freaking phenomenal the death scenes are. Sitting in my peaceful home, nothing to worry about and yet I still worry about a seven-foot woman breaking into my home and crushing my head into bits with her bare hands. Did I also mention that no-one else can see this jolly red giant?

Kit Lamb is a star basketball player. I appreciated the anxiety rep in her arc. It’s very rare to see this kind of mental health representation in coming-of-age stories. She is on edge from the Daphne story. Really on edge, she predicts that now they’ve spoken about her that Daphne will pick them off one by one. She tries to control her anxiety through the only means she knows – writing in a journal. It’s really very telling how Kit seems mildly worried about the legend of Daphne to her final writings and her decent into blind panic.

I will be delving into Malerman’s work, this story was merely an appetiser.


image 3 - Daphne by Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman is an American author of novels and short stories. Before publishing his debut novel Bird Box with ECCO/HarperCollins, he wrote fourteen novels, never having shopped one of them.

Being the singer/songwriter of the Detroit rock band The High Strung, Malerman toured the country for six years, as the band played an average of 250 shows a year, and Malerman wrote many of the rough drafts for these novels in the passenger seat between cities on tour. He says this about those days: “I never saw the books with dollar signs in my eyes. It was no hobby, that’s for sure, it was the real thing and always has been, but I was happy, then, simply writing, and while I blindly assumed they’d be published one day, I had no idea how something like that occurred.”

As the pile of rough drafts grew, so did the questions as to what he was planning on doing with them. Malerman often says that he lived long in a “glorious delusion” in which he took part in phantom interviews, pretended to have an agent, debated with fictitious editors, and placed invisible hardcover books upon his shelves.

It wasn’t until a friend from high school, Dave Simmer, contacted him that those delusions became reality. Simmer, having worked with authors and properties in Hollywood, asked Malerman’s permission to send one of his books to some people he knew in the book business. Malerman heartily agreed and the pair sent out Goblin, a collection of novellas that all take place in the titular city of Goblin. From there, a team was assembled and Malerman suddenly found himself speaking with a real agent and debating with actual editors. He says this of the part Simmer played in his career: “There were two things at play at that point in time; one, Dave was a ghostly benefactor, golden hearted and smart, descending from the sky to help me. And two, what may sound like some luck couldn’t have become fortunate if I wasn’t armed with a dozen novels to talk shop with.”

A limited edition of Goblin is set for publication on Halloween of 2017, through Earthling Publications.

Bird Box was released in 2014 and many short stories and novellas have followed.

Black Mad Wheel (ECCO/HarperCollins) is slated for May of 2017 and Malerman now has the task of juggling between the twenty-seven already written novels and whatever new ideas come going forward.

Cemetery Dance is set to publish a hardcover limited edition of On This, the Day of the Pig in late 2017.

Del Rey (Penguin/Random House) has purchased the rights to Unbury Carol, a fantastic horror-western to be published in April of 2018.

The High Strung are working on a new album and Malerman is working on a new book, freehand this time, in an attempt to get back to how he used to write rough drafts.

Josh Malerman

three stars - Daphne by Josh Malerman

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