Last month, I received an email asking me to consider reading and reviewing a new book, Scream All Night by Derek Milman. I love getting these emails, I’m not ashamed to admit. I love them so much, that I almost always say yes without even reading about the book or doing any research or even checking my schedule to see if I actually have time to read these books.
So, like the accept-first-think-later person I am, I said yes. And then I read the jacket copy.
DARIO HEYWARD KNOWS ONE THING: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios,the iconic castle that served as the set, studio,and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father,the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.
But then Dario’s estranged brother invites him home to a mysterious, shocking ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film — The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue.
Dario swears his homecoming will be a onetime visit. A way for him to get closure on his past — and reunite with Hayley, his first love and the costar of Zombie Children of the HarvestSun, a Moldavia production fraught with real-life tragedy — and then say good-bye for good.
But then the unthinkable happens — Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.
With only months to rescue the sinking studio, and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past — and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?
Honestly, if I’d read this in a bookstore, I’m not sure this book would have made it into my shopping cart. Not that it sounds like a bad book, just not typically my style of book. It sounds dramatic and a little on the horror side of things and just not really my kind of book.
Lucky for me, though, I didn’t do any research and I blindly said I would be happy to read and review Scream All Night. And I’m so, so glad I did.
Scream All Night is well written with characters you want to love and want to understand. I fell in love with Dario and my heart ached for him from the very beginning.
When the story opens, we find Dario living in a halfway house/orphan home. Interestingly, though, he gets a phone call from his brother to return for a tribute to his father, things get very blurred. Soon we learn that Dario has been emancipated from his family, and with that, the complications of the story start to unfold.
That’s when I first learned that with beauty comes a little bit of terror.
Dario grew up in a beautiful castle with sprawling fields, Moldavia. But within the beauty of Moldavia were terrible, dark secrets. For readers with triggers, this book should come attached with a trigger warning for child abuse. Dario’s relationship with his father is strained and at times very hard to read. There’s a lot of anger and hatred and pain.
But this book isn’t just sad and painful. Scream All Night is about a broken family trying to become whole again. It’s about people finding their places in the world. It’s about redemption and renewal.
In a house full of broken people, the things you keep close to your heart better be broken too.
Honestly, this book started out slow for me. The dialogue was a bit stilted in the beginning. But by the third chapter, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know more about Hayley and her parents, Aida and Hugo. I wanted to know why things were so strained between Dario and his brother, what happened to Dario’s mother. I wanted to know everything.
Something unique and fresh to Scream All Night was the whole monster movie feel. References to monster movies are sprinkled throughout this book, and with each one, I can see the movie playing out in my head. Milman, the author, is an accomplished actor. His knowledge of filming and acting makes the writing authentic and natural. The fact that they’re B-horror movies adds to the charm. There are references that bring to mind Elvira, Mistress of the Night. For me, it evokes images of my favorite cartoons from my childhood. I was reminded of shows like A Pup Named Scooby Doo and Tiny Toons. Both of these shows made their own jabs at B-horror movies, werewolf films, monster movies.
Though this book was totally unique and fresh, there was a sense of nostalgia about it that kept me wanting more.
When that moment comes, you’ll know you’ve made it through all the darkness God drew for you, and come out into the light.
So much of this book is about healing and redemption and renewal. This is one of the rare books that didn’t make me cry, but that I still loved. I love when a book makes me cry, but not crying in this book did not mean that I wasn’t emotionally connected to it. It was just much more subtle. And considering the subject matter, I’m glad it was more subtle. It was a bearable ache that I could endure all in one sitting.
The bad stuff leaves the scars
Scream All Night is a family story, more than anything else. It teaches us that families are more than just the people you’re related to. Families reach far and encompass so many people. Families are drawn together and need each other to survive.
Some people are pulled into orbit with one another–a planet and its moon.
Families are like that. Entwined with each other and pulled into each other’s orbit.
I am absolutely delighted that I was asked to read and review Scream All Night by Derek Milman. It was a wonderful read and one that will find its home on my shelf when it comes out.
Scream All Night will be released on July 24, 2018 and will be available where all great books can book found.
Plucky’s rating? 4.5/5 stars
Great review! I’ve got this on my radar, and thankfully I have an e-ARC I can dive into from edelweiss!