Posts Tagged ‘The Unhinged’



Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 226

Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

The Unhinged starts off with a fairly simple premise and one that many readers will immediately write off as not being horror. Aaron Dupree is a 24-year-old man who was recently released from prison on parole after serving a six-year sentence for his role as a getaway driver in an armed robbery attempt. Having cleaned up his act while in prison and looking for a fresh start in life, having gotten an honest job and a budding romance with a girl he met while working there. However, his plan for redemption hits a road bump when he is pulled over for speeding. Aaron pleads with the cop and thinks it is his lucky day when the cop agrees to let him off with a warning with one minor stipulation – that he gives the cop his number and does whatever he asks when he calls, no questions asked. When the cop finally calls Aaron with a job, it seems simple enough and Aaron has no choice but to go along with the cop’s demands. The job makes Aaron uncomfortable, but he follows through assuring himself that no one will get hurt and that when he is finished, he will be free of the cop and able to re-focus himself on turning his life round. However, Aaron quickly realizes that he is in over his head and that the world of horrors the cop unleashes puts him and every one he cares about in grave danger.

The Unhinged is one hell of a novel and Bernstein excels at crafting tension that kept me riveted all the way until the novel’s explosive conclusion. Throughout reading the novel, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander at how Bernstein would tie everything together. Would Aaron get caught while completing the jobs given to him and head back to prison? Would he somehow disengage himself from the cop through a clever plan? Just when it seems clear where the story is going, Bernstein throws a curveball and it takes the reader to totally unexpected places.

Bernstein also does an excellent job of building his characters throughout the novel, particularly the juxtaposition between the cop and the man with the scar. Despite them only being referred to by their descriptive monikers, they have distinct personalities. The cop, for all of his brutality and twisted plots, is more of a chameleon. He is able to blend into society and mask his violent tendencies which makes him a formidable adversary. The man with the scar is the polar opposite. There is little to no attempt to mask his personality and he is fueled solely by the need to hand out pain through sadistic violence. Bernstein forces the reader to question which is more terrifying – a man whose evil is concealed to a degree by charm or someone with absolutely no moral compass?

The Unhinged is a bleak novel and the descriptions of the antagonists’ brutality are pretty horrific. However, if you are a fan of extreme horror, this is one novel you will definitely want to add to your collection! I was unfamiliar with Bernstein’s work prior to reading The Unhinged, but after finishing the novel, I definitely plan on checking out his other books.

Rating: 5/5


David Bernstein’s Official Website

Samhain Horror’s Official Website

Purchase The Unhinged on Amazon