Bad Man
Reddit horror sensation Dathan Auerbach delivers a devilishly dark novel about a young boy who goes missing, and the brother who won't stop looking for him.Eric disappeared when he was three years old. Ben looked away for only a second at the grocery store, but that was all it took. His brother was gone. Vanished right into the sticky air of the Florida Panhandle. They say you've got only a couple days to find a missing person. Forty-eight hours to conduct searches, knock on doors, and talk to witnesses. Two days to tear the world apart if there's any chance of putting yours back together. That's your window.That window closed five years ago, leaving Ben's life in ruins. He still looks for his brother. Still searches, while his stepmother sits and waits and whispers for Eric, refusing to leave the house that Ben's father can no longer afford. Now twenty and desperate for work, Ben takes a night stock job at the only place that will have him: the store that blinked Eric out of existence.Ben can feel that there's something wrong there. With the people. With his boss. With the graffitied baler that shudders and moans and beckons. There's something wrong with the air itself. He knows he's in the right place now. That the store has much to tell him. So he keeps searching. Keeps looking for his baby brother, while missing the most important message of all. That he should have stopped looking.

Bad Man Details

TitleBad Man
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 7th, 2018
PublisherDoubleday
Rating
GenreHorror, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Bad Man Review

  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 starsEric and Ben are not only brothers, but friends. Ben is Eric's older brother and not only loves his brother, but is extremely protective. One day, while at the small Northern Florida town's grocery store, Eric goes missing. Eric's disappearance becomes a media circus for the town, and the family is distraught. Ben is devastated, but also feels responsible, and he will stop at nothing to find his younger brother—knocking on doors, putting up flyers, and searching for Eric daily. Five y 3.5/5 starsEric and Ben are not only brothers, but friends. Ben is Eric's older brother and not only loves his brother, but is extremely protective. One day, while at the small Northern Florida town's grocery store, Eric goes missing. Eric's disappearance becomes a media circus for the town, and the family is distraught. Ben is devastated, but also feels responsible, and he will stop at nothing to find his younger brother—knocking on doors, putting up flyers, and searching for Eric daily. Five years later, the town's police force is exhausted with Eric's search, but Ben continues his search for his beloved brother. Ben has now graduated high school, but his drive is dismal, to say the least. While searching for work, Ben ends up landing a job as an overnight stock rep for the grocery store that Eric disappeared from. While working at this grocery store, Ben senses that things are not quite what they seem—his boss is a total jerk, while the staff all seem to be hiding secrets of their own. Bad Man is a character-driven, coming of age, creepy tale that will keep you guessing until the end. I have never read anything by Dathan Auerbach before, but I've heard good things about Penpal, so I was excited to pick this up. This story differs from many stories that I've recently picked up— Bad Man takes place in the south, but has a "middle America" vibe. The book is slightly homophobic, while it's characters are non-elitest and ignorant. At first, I almost immediately stopped reading once the gay jokes came out by the characters, but then had to remember the time and place in which this story takes place. We never get an exact answer to when this story takes place, but I get '80s or early '90s vibes. I grew up in New York all my life and live in somewhat of a liberal bubble, so my patience with socio-economic insults and generalizations is lacking, so reading Bad Man was kind of cathartic for me because it allowed me to see a world in which I do not live, but is still part of the country that I call home. What makes Bad Man so interesting, is that it's a crime-fiction novel that also deals with a lot of social concepts that America has been polarized for: racism, sexuality, gender norms, etc. While I found the story lacking in horror, I thoroughly enjoyed it's raw and real characterizations of it's characters. I teetered between 3 and 3.5 for my rating until the end—the story's wrap up is not only satisfying, but insanely creepy and shocking.Thank you Doubleday Books for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Bad Man will be released August 7, 2018.
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    As a long-time browser of r/NoSleep and fan of Dathan’s work, when I learned that Bad Man was being released, I was so excited. To learn that he was coming out with his first ever full-length novel—and his first new work in way too long—had me rushing to request this one, and I was beyond excited when I was approved for an ARC. That said, the end result left me with some very mixed thoughts about the execution of this story. He’s not coming home. It was the only echo that seemed to get louder ov As a long-time browser of r/NoSleep and fan of Dathan’s work, when I learned that Bad Man was being released, I was so excited. To learn that he was coming out with his first ever full-length novel—and his first new work in way too long—had me rushing to request this one, and I was beyond excited when I was approved for an ARC. That said, the end result left me with some very mixed thoughts about the execution of this story. He’s not coming home. It was the only echo that seemed to get louder over time, and Ben couldn’t deny that it had changed him, worn him down. First, let me say that if you find yourself particularly susceptible to stories about child abduction, proceed with caution on this one. As a mother to a two-year-old, I rarely pick up books about kidnappings because they tend to wreak havoc on my emotional wellbeing, but since it was Dathan writing this one, I decided to give it a chance. While I never felt like I needed to DNF it, there were a few times where I had to put down my e-reader and do something else for a while, and I definitely shed a few tears (and cuddled my kiddo a lot in between chapters). The best execution of the entire storyline is the grief, and it is just written out so flawlessly that you can’t help but feel your heart break right alongside Ben’s. The sound was what Ben noticed the most. There was so much less to hear now, but Ben still listened. The rest of the book’s various facets left me feeling ambivalent, frankly. It seemed as though every individual aspect to the storytelling just took things a little too far: the atmosphere was magnificently immersive until it became too repetitive, the red herrings were a whirlwind until they became too unreliable, and the unreliability of Ben’s narrative was a tremendous source of suspense until it began to feel like plot holes. More than anything, the slow burn of the story’s buildup was perfect for creating a nauseating sense of dread, until it reached a length at which I found myself simply ready for it to hurry up and end. Each of these complaints boil down to one thing: if this book had been 50-100 pages shorter, I bet it would have been a perfect 5-star read for me. Every person has a day that transforms trust into a choice, when he learns that people lie for reasons all their own. All of that aside, it was obviously still an enjoyable read; that 3-star rating is more of a 3.5, and there were a lot of lesser aspects that I thought were great touches of detail. Ben is disabled and overweight, and while there is a bit of fat-shaming and ableism in regards to both of these things, I enjoyed the complexity it lent to his overall struggles and the back story he eventually came around to giving, explaining how he received his injury, and what that lack of mobility did to the rest of his daily life experiences. I’ll never leave you, Ben’s heart sobbed. Tell him. Tell him that I’ll stay with him forever. Even if that means neither of us can never ever leave, I’ll stay. Was Bad Man a perfect read? No. It’s lengthy, it misses opportunities left and right, and to be totally fair, the ending left me with a sense of dissatisfaction that I haven’t been able to shake in the days since I finished reading it. Regardless, Dathan has a knack for plot lines and creepy settings, and my slightly lackluster response to this story will absolutely not slow me down when it comes time to reach for his next release, whenever that may be.Content warnings for child abduction, abuse, fat shaming, ableism, substance addiction, racism, brief slur usageAll quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Doubleday Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
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  • Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
    January 1, 1970
    When I learned I would be getting an advanced reading copy of, Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach, I went ahead and ordered his first book, PenPal.Horror readers are really polarized about PenPal, falling pretty consistently on one side of the fence or the other. A little research on the internet taught me that PenPal was a novelization of Auerbach’s collected subReddit stories that he then published through his own imprint after the stories gained a huge following. After reading it, I would say that I’ When I learned I would be getting an advanced reading copy of, Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach, I went ahead and ordered his first book, PenPal.Horror readers are really polarized about PenPal, falling pretty consistently on one side of the fence or the other. A little research on the internet taught me that PenPal was a novelization of Auerbach’s collected subReddit stories that he then published through his own imprint after the stories gained a huge following. After reading it, I would say that I’m on the side of the fence of fans that felt like PenPal was original, unsettling and creepy.I was excited by the potential I was seeing in the compelling and realistic narration and was eager to see it develop further in a longer, more linear storyline.Bad Man is the story of a young man named Ben who is looking after his younger brother when he disappears suddenly in a local grocery store.Haunted by the lack of closure Ben receives about the mysterious disappearance, he becomes obsessed with finding him--even to the point of taking a job, some years later, in the same grocery store where the tragedy happened.Dathan set up the story well in the beginning of the novel: Compelling character development with our protagonist, Ben, lots of ambiguous clues to collect and mull over and an interesting cast of characters to scrutinize and grow suspicious of as the story moves along.However, pretty early on, I began to lose interest. The author spends copious amounts of time with detailed descriptions of the grocery store and in the minutia of Ben’s work days. A few co-workers are introduced and there are some long stretches of dialog that wore on my patience. I found myself yearning for the author to return to the mystery or to start building some suspense and tension.A character named Marty is introduced and while he’s an interesting person, I felt like he was distracting and pulled attention away from Ben. His character arc was frustrating to me--there were several times I recognized some unmotivated behavior and I had to re-read scenes to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Much like if you watch a stage play where the actors wander to and fro upstage and downstage during a scene or a monologue without any real cause to do so--in the acting business, that’s called unmotivated blocking and Marty was guilty of that so often I became irritated by it. The author’s notes at the end about that particular character softened me a little more to him but it didn’t clarify any of the questions or confusion I had to his actual involvement in the story.This book had a lot of issues for me. The writing had some solid moments of greatness where I would begin to hope that the hook was right around the corner, only to turn down an empty path that led to nowhere again. The plot shuffled along giving me the sense that this would have made a much better story if it were tighter, cleaner and leaner. Given the success of PenPal and the solid character development in Bad Man, I would definitely give Dathan Auerbach another read so I hope he has more creepy stories that need to be told!
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  • Tiffany PSquared
    January 1, 1970
    When I think about what makes a good horror story, one of the most important components is the atmosphere. Auerbach sets us up in a small Floridian town and then strips us of all sense of security and comfort. He surrounds his characters with grief, poverty, and suspicion, and therefore creates a perfect setting for this creepy tale that weaves real-life horror with a little something extra.Eric has been missing for five years and no one has any answers as to what could have happened to him. His When I think about what makes a good horror story, one of the most important components is the atmosphere. Auerbach sets us up in a small Floridian town and then strips us of all sense of security and comfort. He surrounds his characters with grief, poverty, and suspicion, and therefore creates a perfect setting for this creepy tale that weaves real-life horror with a little something extra.Eric has been missing for five years and no one has any answers as to what could have happened to him. His big brother, Ben, was the last one to see him and seems to be the only one committed to still searching for him. When Ben takes a job at the same store where Eric went missing, strange things begin to occur that convince him that someone does know what happened to Eric and they're trying to reach out to him. But is it to help him or to stop him from asking questions?The Bad Man will leave you guessing. The unreliable narrator, the creepy store setting, and Ben's shady coworkers and friends all manage to introduce more questions as you read than they answer. I found the book to be quite engrossing; however, the ending was wholly unsatisfying in that there were several strings left hanging that made even the epilogue seem incomplete.I would recommend this book to lovers of horror and mystery that don't mind a story that leaves you with lots of questions at the end. This one isn't tied up with a neat little bow. And if you don't mind filling in the blanks for yourself, this is definitely the book for you.(view spoiler)[For example, no explanation was ever given on who the blond boy was or where he came from, or if he even had a name. Second, how could Beverly have lived in the store with two children right down the hall from the boss without anyone knowing? Next, how was she able to fight Ben at her house if she was so frail and also had a broken arm? Another thing: What was the whole deal with Blackwater School? We got this big lead up to it, Reggie's confession to Ben about it, Beverly was obviously tied to it, but other than Ben's chant, what role did it play in Eric's abduction? (hide spoiler)]**Many thanks to NetGalley, Doubleday, and the author for providing an ARC of this book for me to read and review.**
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  • Mariana
    January 1, 1970
    Nota real: 2.5 estrellasEste libro lo tenía todo para encantarme: un niño desaparecido misteriosamente, símbolos extraños, un pueblo pequeño, personajes que parecen ocultar terribles secretos... sin embargo, me resultó pesado y algo desesperante.La editorial me envío un ARC sin correcciones, por lo cual, quiero pensar que a la versión final un buen editor le metió mano y -quizá- muchos de los problemas que tuve con la forma en que está escrita la historia, se corrigieron.Ben es un adolescente co Nota real: 2.5 estrellasEste libro lo tenía todo para encantarme: un niño desaparecido misteriosamente, símbolos extraños, un pueblo pequeño, personajes que parecen ocultar terribles secretos... sin embargo, me resultó pesado y algo desesperante.La editorial me envío un ARC sin correcciones, por lo cual, quiero pensar que a la versión final un buen editor le metió mano y -quizá- muchos de los problemas que tuve con la forma en que está escrita la historia, se corrigieron.Ben es un adolescente con sobrepeso (lo cual nos van a recordar cada tres párrafos) y con una discapacidad motriz, resultado de un accidente que sufrió en su infancia. Esto no le previene de cuidar y jugar con su hermano menor, Eric. Un día, su madrastra les pide que vayan a la tienda de autoservicio a comprar los ingredientes para la cena. Mientras Ben está intentando tener todo en orden, Eric desaparece misteriosamente. De aquí la historia brinca 5 años, Ben tiene ahora 20, ha terminado al fin la preparatoria y está desesperado por conseguir un trabajo para ayudar a su papá y a su madrastra a pagar las cuentas. Como se imaginan, nada ha vuelto a ser lo mismo desde que el pequeño Eric desapareció. Es así como Ben consigue un trabajo en la misma tienda de autoservicio en la que su hermanito desapareció.Su turno es nocturno, por lo cual, nos vamos a encontrar en el ambiente perfecto para que cosas extrañas, manifestaciones ¿sobrenaturales? y extraños símbolos comiencen a aparecer, indicando que la desaparición de Eric tiene que ver con algo mucho más siniestro que un simple secuestro.Suena súper, ¿no? El problema es la forma que tiene de escribir Auerbach. Es tediosa, lenta y desesperante. Hay un puñado de buenas ideas en esta novela, el autor intenta incorporarlas todas y acaba por no poder concretar ninguna satisfactoriamente. Otra cosa que me molestó es que nunca se especifica el año en el que la historia está ocurriendo (al menos en mi edición, que todavía no está corregida). Asumí que fue algún punto en los 90, ya que nadie tiene celulares y tener un discman es lo más común de la vida. Hay momentos muy tétricos, lo malo es que se vuelven planos porque no se logran conectar con el resto de la trama. Parece ser que finalmente llegaste a un punto de mucha tensión y de pronto todo se vuelve a caer. Muchos de los que parecen los más grandes misterios quedan sin resolver o se les da una explicación más bien decepcionante.En fin, como les digo, quiero pensar que la edición corregida probablemente sea mucho mejor que lo que a mi me tocó leer. Además, me chismearon por ahí que no falta mucho para que salga en español y quizá la traducción sea más fluida y fácil de leer.Como dato curioso, el primer libro de Auerbach "Penpal" surgió a raíz de los creepypastas que él publicaba en Reddit y que se volvieron extremadamente populares.
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  • Cody | codysbookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ Page 140. I gave this book two chances. The first seventy or so pages didn’t grab me, so I started over. Things went better, until . . . I became bored. And more bored. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough here to carry a novel. A young man’s younger brother goes missing in a grocery store, and said young man gets a job in said grocery store a few years later. This is the author’s first full-length novel, and it shows. The story feels endless, rambly . . . and just not interesting. Thank DNF @ Page 140. I gave this book two chances. The first seventy or so pages didn’t grab me, so I started over. Things went better, until . . . I became bored. And more bored. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough here to carry a novel. A young man’s younger brother goes missing in a grocery store, and said young man gets a job in said grocery store a few years later. This is the author’s first full-length novel, and it shows. The story feels endless, rambly . . . and just not interesting. Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. This one releases on August 7.
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  • Mindi
    January 1, 1970
    This ARC was provided to the Night Worms by Doubleday in exchange for an honest review.I've been thinking about how to review this one for a few days now. Some of the Night Worms actually had a discussion about the book before we reviewed it. We almost never do that, but it seemed like something that was necessary because a few of us were struggling with the rating for this book.Basically, I think there is a good story here, I just felt like this novel is overly long. It's starts with an utterly This ARC was provided to the Night Worms by Doubleday in exchange for an honest review.I've been thinking about how to review this one for a few days now. Some of the Night Worms actually had a discussion about the book before we reviewed it. We almost never do that, but it seemed like something that was necessary because a few of us were struggling with the rating for this book.Basically, I think there is a good story here, I just felt like this novel is overly long. It's starts with an utterly terrifying situation. A young boy takes his 3-year-old brother to the local grocery store to pick up some items for his parents, and his younger brother disappears. The book then flashes forward 5 years, and it's at this point that the story starts to crawl. The younger brother is still missing, and Ben, the protagonist and older brother, can't stop blaming himself and continues to look for his brother. He even takes a stocking job at the grocery store where his brother disappeared. Somewhere around the halfway point the book sort of picks up and you start to think that maybe some answers will be revealed, but it's literally not until the very final pages of the book that you truly know what happens. And those pages between the middle of the novel and the end are a slog. I was trying to finish this one up, mostly because I needed to know after investing so much time in it, but also because my family was waiting for me to eat with them, and I literally said out loud at one point "this book is never going to end". It just keeps going, and actually becomes confusing and a bit hard to swallow when you finally learn the fate of Ben's brother. I honestly feel that this book could have been half as long and much more effective. So much of the book seems to exist just to force the reader to question every character in the novel.There's an interesting and sad story here, I just feel like ultimately it was buried under too many false clues and obfuscation. There are whole passages where the protagonist just walks for hours and it seems like things of that nature could have been trimmed down significantly. This one would have worked so much better as a much shorter novel.
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  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    BAD MAN, by Dathan Auerbach, is the first book I have read by this author. While there were some horrific elements (the loss of a child would hit just about anyone as horror), I saw this as more of a mystery/sometimes delving into fantasy. I found myself reading just to get to the ending and final solution.That being said, I just don't think this book was right for me. There were things that I considered more "sad" than "horror" here, and that just wasn't what I was hoping for. Also, I felt that BAD MAN, by Dathan Auerbach, is the first book I have read by this author. While there were some horrific elements (the loss of a child would hit just about anyone as horror), I saw this as more of a mystery/sometimes delving into fantasy. I found myself reading just to get to the ending and final solution.That being said, I just don't think this book was right for me. There were things that I considered more "sad" than "horror" here, and that just wasn't what I was hoping for. Also, I felt that there was a LOT of excess information that we really didn't need at all--the book could easily have taken out over a 100 pages, without missing any crucial information.Personally, just not my taste, but I'm sure it would appeal more to a different audience.**I received an arc of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.**
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/14/...Is there anything more heart-wrenching than a tale about a child gone missing? For protagonist Ben, there is no deeper anguish. Five years ago, his little brother Eric disappeared from a grocery store while Ben was supposed to be taking care of him. A moment of distraction was all it took. One second, the three-year-old was there, and the next, he was gone. Search teams scoured the area and the police also looked into al 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/14/...Is there anything more heart-wrenching than a tale about a child gone missing? For protagonist Ben, there is no deeper anguish. Five years ago, his little brother Eric disappeared from a grocery store while Ben was supposed to be taking care of him. A moment of distraction was all it took. One second, the three-year-old was there, and the next, he was gone. Search teams scoured the area and the police also looked into all suspects that could have taken the little boy, but nothing ever came of any of the investigations. Soon, Eric’s photo joined the dozens of other children on the missing persons bulletin board, where their faces gaze back faded and forgotten.But Ben has never stopped looking. He is now twenty, and the years since Eric’s disappearance have not been kind to him or his family. His stepmother has retreated into herself and his dad’s job is no longer enough to pay the bills. Ben desperately needs work, but in a cruel twist of fate, the only place that would hire him is the very supermarket where Eric went missing. Working the nightshift as a stock person, Ben quickly learns the ropes from his new buddies Marty and Frank, and as hard as it is being back in a place with so many painful memories, for a while there, things didn’t actually seem so bad.Unfortunately, that calm doesn’t last. After a couple weeks, Ben can’t shake the feeling that something is very wrong with the store, the people there, and the entire town. A disturbing find in the lost-and-found bin suddenly reignites his search for Eric, leading to another flurry of printed flyers and house-to-house calls. There’s no one left that Ben feels he can rely upon or trust—not his parents, not his colleagues, and most definitely not the police detective James Duchaine, the man who was put in charge of Eric’s case.I was kind of torn on my feels for this book. For days, I wavered between rating it 3 or 4 stars before settling on something in the middle. There were certain things I really liked about it, but there were also areas that I felt were weak or fell short of my expectations.First, the positives: there were moments in Bad Man that were truly terrifying. You don’t even have to look too far beyond reality to find the horror either; hundreds of kids go missing each year, and I can’t even imagine what an awful, desperate, and helpless ordeal it is for the parents and loved ones. This novel opens on the worst day of Ben’s life—the day he lost his beloved little brother. As a mother of a three-year-old, reading this entire sequence made my skin cold and my stomach feel hollow. Ben’s panic and guilt tore at my heart. His pain and fear became mine, and I felt like crying.For better or worse though, I didn’t find the rest of the book to be so harrowing or intense, though the story still contained its fair share of emotionally traumatizing moments. In many ways, Bad Man is more mystery than horror. Dathan Auerbach handles suspense well, keeping the reader guessing even when not a lot is happening on the page. Most of his characters are there as suspects, their secrets revealed to us slowly as their backstories are told in dribs and drabs. Ben himself is an enigma that we are warned not to fully trust. Grief touches people in different ways, and the uncertainties surrounding our protagonist’s memories is a source of much tension and conflict.Unfortunately, this compelling atmosphere was not always present. There were times when the author dropped the ball, particularly in sections where the plot meandered and dragged. Certain threads were also picked up but never carried through and I wasn’t always sure if these were supposed to be red herrings or just Auerbach trying out different twists that he didn’t quite know how to pull off. Because this is his debut novel, I’m sort of leaning towards the latter. There are definitely pacing issues, and I didn’t think the novel as a whole had to be so long. The rambling, convoluted jumble that was the ending probably could have used some polish too, for I got the sense that the author might have forgotten to tie up a few loose ends.Overall, I liked Bad Man, but as a horror/mystery novel, there were things that could have been done better. Author Dathan Auerbach has already found much success with Penpal, a series of interconnected short stories posted to Reddit, but I think he’s probably discovered that a full-length novel requires a whole different level and process of planning and writing. If this debut is any indication though, I believe he’s on the right track, and I look forward to see what he does next.
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  • August Is Azathoth The Haunted Reading Room
    January 1, 1970
    Review: BAD MAN by Dathan AuerbachAn engrossing horror novel which seems to start out carefully, but almost immediately segues into flat-out horror, from then on BAD MAN is non-stop horror, tragedy, grief, suspense, terror. There are no "normal" folks in this story (except perhaps Clint, Ben and Eric's father, store cashier Chelsea and a neighbor, James) but I think these are present more as a reflective backdrop in which we watch the dysfunctional, the villainous, the evil, and the barely-human Review: BAD MAN by Dathan AuerbachAn engrossing horror novel which seems to start out carefully, but almost immediately segues into flat-out horror, from then on BAD MAN is non-stop horror, tragedy, grief, suspense, terror. There are no "normal" folks in this story (except perhaps Clint, Ben and Eric's father, store cashier Chelsea and a neighbor, James) but I think these are present more as a reflective backdrop in which we watch the dysfunctional, the villainous, the evil, and the barely-human abusers.This novel is rife with the constant churning ups and downs which must be common in all cases of abducted or missing children, or runaways, when the child has not been located, either alive and recoverable, or deceased: the long durations without news, the mistaken or willfully intentionally false sightings, the unending grief, the fraying of family connections, the awareness that the loved ones left behind no longer hold a connection with "normals" (read: the unbereaved). But throughout the horror is unrelinquished and unmitigated. Throughout is the Shadow of the Store, in which or from which a joyful three-year-old boy "disappeared." Throughout is the oppressive influence and personality of Store manager Bill Palmer. There is something wrong in this quiet, almost backwater, North Florida town. There is something wrong at the Store. There is a lot wrong in the protagonist. In the end, who or what is the responsible, the culpable party--and why?
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    A chilling and entertaining sophomore novel. I went into reading this book with high hopes, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The protagonist, Ben is still searching for his missing brother, Eric. He takes a job at the same grocery store he lost his brother in years ago. He begins to find strange clues that seem to relate to his brothers disappearance.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook.
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  • Patrice Hoffman
    January 1, 1970
    To be most accurate, Dathan Auerbach's Bad Man is a good 3.5 star rating for me. Two children stumbling upon a body is where we begin this tale. Who's body we're unaware of at the time but there's much speculation once we get into the girth of the story.Ben is charged with going to get groceries for the family with his young brother Eric. As he and Eric shop for their belongings, the younger of the two needs to use the bathroom. After a mishap with Eric's stuffed animal in an effort to clean him To be most accurate, Dathan Auerbach's Bad Man is a good 3.5 star rating for me. Two children stumbling upon a body is where we begin this tale. Who's body we're unaware of at the time but there's much speculation once we get into the girth of the story.Ben is charged with going to get groceries for the family with his young brother Eric. As he and Eric shop for their belongings, the younger of the two needs to use the bathroom. After a mishap with Eric's stuffed animal in an effort to clean him, Ben looks up to find that his younger brother has disappeared.Everyone's worse nightmare is to lose their child anywhere especially with the amount of crazies in the world. Imagine being a young boy and carrying the guilt of the loss with you everywhere you go?Bad Man skips ahead five years and continues with Ben looking for his lost little brother. He receives a job in the very grocery store that he lost Eric in. Against his (and his parents') better judgement, he works the night shift stocking the shelves. Ben hopes he might find something he may have missed over the years. Ultimately, what kept me drawn into this novel is not only the hope that Ben finds Eric, but it is Ben and his incredible drive. He's an overweight kid with a bad leg as a result of a car crash. At times this handicap renders him almost useless, but he finds a way to persevere. He walks miles and miles knocking on doors, talking to neighbors, even breaking into places where his brother might be hidden.There's not a day that goes by that Ben isn't haunted with Eric's ghost...This also leaves us readers with trying to decipher between what's real and isn't. There were many moments I figured that Ben was going through some sort of psychological breakdown and that things were definitely looking strange. Even with this title being touted as horror, I didn't get that element of suspense or supernatural until a little later in the novel but by then I was over it.Auerbach does a great job of introducing a sympathetic protagonist that carries the weight of the story for so long that I wanted him to be just taken out of his misery. I guess it was my misery as well. Is Eric alive? Will he be found? All signs point to some crazy places but I just need to know. This is my gripe. The anticipation of the ending only to be left with an unfulfilled feeling. There's a big plot twist that I feel was never really explained or explored. Yes going that route of the plot twist may have seemed obvious, but you can't put miscellaneous information out there and expect readers like me not to wonder what happened to it.Essentially, Dathan Auerbach's Bad Man is an interesting and compelling read. Although I wasn't too happy with the ending, taking this journey with anyone else. His drive and determination kept me hooked. I felt that Ben didn't deserve the hardships he'd been dealt and I hoped that he would be OK. Please read to find out if he is OK...Copy Provided by Doubleday Books via NetgalleyThe Author's Note is worth reading at the end!!!
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  • Cameron Chaney
    January 1, 1970
    If you'd like to see a video review of BAD MAN, click HERE. If you prefer written reviews, read on!BAD MAN follows the story of a young man named Ben whose life has been crumbling around him ever since his little brother was kidnapped at a grocery store five years ago while in Ben's care. In hopes of finding his brother, Ben takes on a job at the grocery, feeling like the store might hold the secret to his brother's disappearance. Sure enough, he may be right.While this novel is categorized as h If you'd like to see a video review of BAD MAN, click HERE. If you prefer written reviews, read on!BAD MAN follows the story of a young man named Ben whose life has been crumbling around him ever since his little brother was kidnapped at a grocery store five years ago while in Ben's care. In hopes of finding his brother, Ben takes on a job at the grocery, feeling like the store might hold the secret to his brother's disappearance. Sure enough, he may be right.While this novel is categorized as horror, I would simply call it a thriller. The story is dark, sure, but it never reached too far into the darkness that I felt like I was reading a horror story. There was some creepy dream imagery, but that's about all. So don't go into this expecting anything but a mystery/thriller.Therefore, BAD MAN focuses less on scares and more on characters, especially Ben and his coworker Marty who he meets when starting his job at the supermarket. I really liked Marty as a character and found it sweet that Dathan Auerbach based the character off a real-life friend who he once worked with at a supermarket.Since the book does focus more on the emotional aspect of the story, there were times when I felt attached to what was happening, but I wasn't as moved as I wanted to be. I believe the reason for this is BAD MAN's pacing. Auerbach takes his time with the story, the twists being few and far between. The book either could have been cut down or there could have been more added in place of the meandering scenes.Slowness aside, BAD MAN has a strong suit and that is it's characters and the doubts each one raises in the reader. You really can't trust anyone. Even Ben himself shows signs of being untrustworthy. The novel does a fine job of digging into the darkness of every person, no matter how nice they may seem. This adds to the overall paranoia and desperation of Ben's obsessive search for his brother.In the end, I can't recommend BAD MAN, but I can't not recommend it either. It really depends on what you like as a reader. Just don't go into this expecting a page-turning horror story.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Doubleday in exchange for an honest reviewI first became familiar with Dathan Auerbach several years ago when he was known as /u/1000Vultures on Reddit. He wrote the serial-creepypasta series, Penpal, in the /r/nosleep subreddit. No Sleep’s subreddit has one rule: “Suspension of disbelief is key here. Everything is true here, even if it’s not.” In other words, it is a subreddit for authors to post their horror stories and readers/commenters had to go along with it. It’s a creepy ARC provided by Doubleday in exchange for an honest reviewI first became familiar with Dathan Auerbach several years ago when he was known as /u/1000Vultures on Reddit. He wrote the serial-creepypasta series, Penpal, in the /r/nosleep subreddit. No Sleep’s subreddit has one rule: “Suspension of disbelief is key here. Everything is true here, even if it’s not.” In other words, it is a subreddit for authors to post their horror stories and readers/commenters had to go along with it. It’s a creepy good time.Dathan Auerbach eventually published Penpal into a full length novel, and then once I heard he wrote Bad Man , I really wanted to read it. Luckily Doubleday Books reached out to me and offered me an ARC!Bad Man begins with brothers, Ben and Eric, who are out having a normal day shopping for groceries. Ben suffers leg pain from an old injury, so he’s not having a good time shopping with his distracting three year-old brother, Eric. Then Eric disappears. Five years later, Ben ends up getting a job as a stocker in the same grocery store from which Eric vanished. Ben believes the answers to his brother’s disappearance lies within those grocery store walls.Right away the writing style and spook-factor reminded me a bit of Stephen King. I was immediately pulled into the story as soon as Eric disappeared. Add in some suspicious coworkers, a terrible boss, and shady towns folk, and I was hooked. Not to mention the cops in town were horribly useless. Really this book had all the elements of a fantastic horror-crime story. I had a hard time putting this book down and there were so many twists. I was honestly guessing until the very end.And even though it’s never specified, I believe the book takes place sometime in the 80’s or 90’s. An era without cell phones and digital cameras. I love books in these settings because it makes everything so much more complicated. You have no way to google police reports or snap a photo of a suspicious person on your phone. Ah, the good ol’ days.A few things that ultimately led to a three star rating are minor. I felt like the book was too much of a slow-burn for my tastes. It felt like things really didn’t start to pick up until I passed the 60% point. Also several scenes were a bit too over descriptive for me (for example there was an entire page about fixing a cabinet, and several pages describing a baler.) I know lots of readers enjoy descriptive scenes for the world building, so I think this writing style just wasn’t for me. As for the ending, I was left feeling unsatisfied.With my minor qualms aside, I truly thought the horror elements were strong. There were so many scary parts! Auerbach really knows how to reel us in with his creepy-campfire storytelling while still weaving in themes of brotherhood, love, and hope.I suggest you read Bad Man with the lights off to get those extra creepy vibes.Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Stephanie (That's What She Read)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 StarsBen lost his little brother Eric in a grocery store. His family has had a hard time moving on from the incident. Ben decides to take a job at the grocery store where his brother went missing. That's where the troubles start. This story had a lot of atmosphere. There were times were I was confused as to what was going on. The story dragged a bit throughout, and I felt that the story left a few things hanging in the end. The book overall left me wanting more. I received an e-copy of this 2.5 StarsBen lost his little brother Eric in a grocery store. His family has had a hard time moving on from the incident. Ben decides to take a job at the grocery store where his brother went missing. That's where the troubles start. This story had a lot of atmosphere. There were times were I was confused as to what was going on. The story dragged a bit throughout, and I felt that the story left a few things hanging in the end. The book overall left me wanting more. I received an e-copy of this book for review from Edelweiss
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  • Cupcakes & Machetes
    January 1, 1970
    I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Now this is what I was looking for when I said I wanted a good mystery. Ben's younger brother, Eric, disappeared from the local grocery store five years ago while Ben was in charge of watching him. It's ate away at Ben over the years and he's never stopped looking. With his family on the verge of losing everything because his depressed stepmother no longer works, Ben is forced to take a job at the only place i I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Now this is what I was looking for when I said I wanted a good mystery. Ben's younger brother, Eric, disappeared from the local grocery store five years ago while Ben was in charge of watching him. It's ate away at Ben over the years and he's never stopped looking. With his family on the verge of losing everything because his depressed stepmother no longer works, Ben is forced to take a job at the only place in town hiring. The very store his little brother disappeared at. He makes friends with the odd people who work there and explores the store every chance he gets. Someone begins leaving clues to his brother's disappearance.I'm not giving away anything else. You need to experience this one for yourself.The great thing about this book is the multiple red herrings the author has going. One moment you think you have the mystery solved and the next chapter, you receive a new clue that points you in someone else's direction. I always love a good mystery that I cannot figure out half way through the story. This book kept me coming back for more.Well written, great characters and a fabulous mystery. If you're looking for those things, you can't go wrong with Bad Man.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I was not a huge fan of Penpal, but figured I would give Bad Man a shot for the Nightworms group read. Apparently I have a hard time connecting with this author's writing. I could not get into this book. I read for quite a bit & nothing ever happened that held my attention. The synopsis sounded really interesting, and I was looking forward to seeing where it went. Even the part I read was just dragged out, and there was a lot of information about the layout of a grocery store. I hope y'all h I was not a huge fan of Penpal, but figured I would give Bad Man a shot for the Nightworms group read. Apparently I have a hard time connecting with this author's writing. I could not get into this book. I read for quite a bit & nothing ever happened that held my attention. The synopsis sounded really interesting, and I was looking forward to seeing where it went. Even the part I read was just dragged out, and there was a lot of information about the layout of a grocery store. I hope y'all have better luck with this one than I did.
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  • Steve Tannuzzo
    January 1, 1970
    A decent setup leads to a disappointing read. When a three-year-old vanishes at a Florida supermarket, his older brother becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. Years later, he takes a job at the scene of the vanishing and soon discovers a strangeness about the store. This book didn't hold my interest and at some point I started rooting for the evil grocery store to take the older brother too. Thumbs down. Read something better. I received this Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an ho A decent setup leads to a disappointing read. When a three-year-old vanishes at a Florida supermarket, his older brother becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. Years later, he takes a job at the scene of the vanishing and soon discovers a strangeness about the store. This book didn't hold my interest and at some point I started rooting for the evil grocery store to take the older brother too. Thumbs down. Read something better. I received this Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. Can't get more honest than that.
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  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    "Somewhere in the distance, lightning lit the sky on fire, and it screamed in pain."Bad Man will be published on August 7 and is available for pre-order now. It is told from the point of view of Ben, a young man who lost his little brother 5 years ago and never forgave himself and never gave up searching. For some reason the police don't seem to care and his step mother is lost in her own world, still buying presents and holding birthday celebrations for her little boy who never came home. Ben's "Somewhere in the distance, lightning lit the sky on fire, and it screamed in pain."Bad Man will be published on August 7 and is available for pre-order now. It is told from the point of view of Ben, a young man who lost his little brother 5 years ago and never forgave himself and never gave up searching. For some reason the police don't seem to care and his step mother is lost in her own world, still buying presents and holding birthday celebrations for her little boy who never came home. Ben's father doesn't want him working in the store where little Eric disappeared but he sure doesn't mind Ben bringing home a paycheck. His boss is a jerk and the other employees are a bit on the suspicious side.This was an incredible read. Bad Man has more layers than an onion, each one deeper and darker than the one that came before. A heavy pervasive creeping dread settled in my stomach with the turn of each page. 5 starsI received an advance copy for review.
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  • Kaycee Bowick (Off_The_Press)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a advanced DRC of this title in exchange for an honest review!Off The Press Reads: Blog ♦ Instagram ♦ Bloglovin'
  • J
    January 1, 1970
    I was so stoked when I was approved to read an advanced copy of Dathan Auerbach's upcoming sophomore novel Bad Man. I devoured Penpal in a day, and it's stuck with me ever since. This one is in the same general neighborhood but doesn't leave as strong an impression. Don't get me wrong, I really dig this and I'll probably buy a copy. It had all the same creepy nuances that reminded me of Dathan's past with creepypasta. But there were some things that didn't flow well, like how often he used U.S. I was so stoked when I was approved to read an advanced copy of Dathan Auerbach's upcoming sophomore novel Bad Man. I devoured Penpal in a day, and it's stuck with me ever since. This one is in the same general neighborhood but doesn't leave as strong an impression. Don't get me wrong, I really dig this and I'll probably buy a copy. It had all the same creepy nuances that reminded me of Dathan's past with creepypasta. But there were some things that didn't flow well, like how often he used U.S. Southern dialect in dialogue. I see he's from the South (as am I), but it wasn't very consistent. Hopefully that gets fixed before official publication. Overall, the horror and suspense were great. I wish that there had been a little less mundane moments (and a few less references to the protagonist's obesity) and a little more explanation in the ending. It made sense well enough, but I wish that there had been a little more to the ending than was offered. I liked it, but it was almost lackluster.To end on a good note, I think he crafted a very interesting portrayal of loss and grief from multiple perspectives. The protagonist's experience with these things and the way he processed it over time was astounding and nerve-wracking to the point where the reader will begin to question the reliability of him as a narrator. This is probably the shining glory of this novel, and it is inextricably linked to the suspense and inevitable horror of the novel.Still obviously a huge fan of Dathan Auerbach and 1000Vultures. Can't wait to hear more about the Penpal movie and keep up with Auerbach's career as a horror author. I both wish he was more renowned because he deserves it but love that his work feels like a secret.
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  • Brandy Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    Despite my best efforts, after making it nearly halfway through this book I just could not bring myself to go on and had to DNF. I kept hoping SOMETHING would happen to keep me engaged and it didn't. It shouldn't take nearly 200 pages for a book to reel me in, and from what I can tell, this one was never going to. I certainly cannot speak for everyone and would never say "do not buy this book!" Because everyone is different and what I found to be boring and quite repetitive, someone else may fin Despite my best efforts, after making it nearly halfway through this book I just could not bring myself to go on and had to DNF. I kept hoping SOMETHING would happen to keep me engaged and it didn't. It shouldn't take nearly 200 pages for a book to reel me in, and from what I can tell, this one was never going to. I certainly cannot speak for everyone and would never say "do not buy this book!" Because everyone is different and what I found to be boring and quite repetitive, someone else may find intriguing. But for me, it definitely felt like way too much of the same thing with the very occasional "spooky" aspect tossed in as an attempt to keep the reader wanting more. For me it was a failure and I doubt I'll be giving this book a second chance in the future.
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  • Don Gillette
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed Bad Man very much. The progressive creepiness was a delight and the highs and lows of the progression were spaced nicely. Even when the progression slowed to a snail's pace, it still managed to build ever so slightly--plenty to keep you interested and moving forward waiting for the next burst. Most characterizations were full, rich, and tone-setting; those that were not aided in building the suspense factor as the reader was fed tidbits of information about the character. Readers will I enjoyed Bad Man very much. The progressive creepiness was a delight and the highs and lows of the progression were spaced nicely. Even when the progression slowed to a snail's pace, it still managed to build ever so slightly--plenty to keep you interested and moving forward waiting for the next burst. Most characterizations were full, rich, and tone-setting; those that were not aided in building the suspense factor as the reader was fed tidbits of information about the character. Readers will find themselves doubting almost every character in the book at different times and that added to the tension throughout. Is Ben (the protagonist) dreaming this? Is he mis-remembering? Is he nuts? Are these people real or figments of his imagination? Auerbach bounces you back and forth between these thoughts deftly, expertly, and he does it in such a manner that you are always a bit off kilter when you come to a stopping point. On the surface, the story is simple enough: little brother wanders off while in the care of big brother. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. But what Auerbach does with this simple story is unusual, frightening, suspenseful, and twisting. Why not 5-stars? In my opinion, the book dragged on a bit and could have lost about 75 pages. I would have liked it a little tighter and faster-paced. There was also a meandering sub-plot about a private school that was never resolved to my satisfaction and one main character whose motive was never fully revealed. As an aside, like Auerbach, I worked my way through undergraduate school in a grocery store and I really enjoyed that little nostalgia trip--he nailed it. In the event there are others out there who have heard of Auerbach only through his internet reputation, I want to put your mind at ease--I did not want to like this book because of a prejudice. When I saw "Reddit horror sensation Dathan Auerbach delivers a devilishly dark novel..." I'd already made up my mind that he was an internet flash-in-the-pan. When I learned that Auerbach had done a Kickstarter to raise money for his first novel, Penpal, I was especially leery. But, you know, things change. Techniques change. Publishing has changed. I was wrong. And not for the first time, either. One word of caution to readers, though: Pay attention to the Prologue. Strict attention. It's short--only 3 pages--and I almost didn't get through it. Take your time with those 3 pages. They're written in a style totally different from the rest of the book so don't let that throw you like it almost threw me. It's important. When you've finished the book, go back and read it again. I think it should have been both the prologue and afterword. This has absolutely nothing to do with the book, but in closing, let's get something straight. Dathan Auerbach has a very devoted following on Reddit. One negative word or criticism about anything he's done will get you a handful of threatening tweets, a dozen bad reviews of your own work, and assorted cheap shots. That's not Auerbach's fault. Yes, it's stupid and infantile, but don't hold it against him. He's a helluva writer.
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  • Cassie
    January 1, 1970
    First I want to thank netgalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book for my kindle. This book started out really well but started dragging towards the middle and the end really disappointed me!! I enjoyed the depth of the characters and you could feel the pain coming from Ben. The story was about how Ben is living with the guilt of losing his brother while at the grocery store he can’t help but feel it’s his fault since he was babysitting him. So after so many years he decides to get First I want to thank netgalley and the author for an advanced copy of this book for my kindle. This book started out really well but started dragging towards the middle and the end really disappointed me!! I enjoyed the depth of the characters and you could feel the pain coming from Ben. The story was about how Ben is living with the guilt of losing his brother while at the grocery store he can’t help but feel it’s his fault since he was babysitting him. So after so many years he decides to get a job at the grocery store that his brother disappeared from. I felt this book was in slow motion. Took me a little bit to finish and the ending was so disappointing for me since the story dragged. Bad man just wasn’t for me
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  • Judy Collins
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow.
  • Alex findingmontauk1
    January 1, 1970
    Bad Man, by Dathan Auerbach, follows the story of Ben who loses his brother at a grocery store one afternoon. Flash forward to five years in the future and Ben has not given up hope in finding his brother and starts working at that same grocery store! Ben can sense something is wrong with the store, or the employees, or even the townspeople… he knows he is on the right path.The first few pages in this book are straight fire and hooked me in right away. I started having all kinds of nostalgia vib Bad Man, by Dathan Auerbach, follows the story of Ben who loses his brother at a grocery store one afternoon. Flash forward to five years in the future and Ben has not given up hope in finding his brother and starts working at that same grocery store! Ben can sense something is wrong with the store, or the employees, or even the townspeople… he knows he is on the right path.The first few pages in this book are straight fire and hooked me in right away. I started having all kinds of nostalgia vibes of me and my older brother when we were younger. We would play games and annoy each other just like Ben and Eric. You get a sense of the relationship between the two brothers and you can start to learn just how much the vanishing of young Eric affects Ben and his family life. But after Eric’s disappearance things go a little downhill…For starters, I felt saturated with the inner workings and description of a grocery story. I have been in one… quite a few actually… and many times. I did not need the drawn out details of the store. We get to know some of Ben’s new co-workers but as the pages keep turning, I found myself forgetting all about the plot line of the vanishing brother and wondering where the heck this was going.Once you pass the halfway mark in the book, it seems the story gets a little more on track to what you expect it to be about. You start to think maybe there will be some answers coming and some plot twists and less grocery store descriptions and long, semi-meaningless conversations between Ben and his co-workers that add what to the plot? I am not sure if it’s just to throw all these red herrings our way or what, but it didn’t work for me.And when the fate of Eric is revealed, it just seems rushed and almost under-explained. After hundreds of pages, that was what we get? Then the book just ends. It’s all just a little jumbled up at the end. Ok. So I think the book could have been at LEAST 100 pages shorter and been just as effective if not more effective. The amount of time the book focused on things that were just totally unrelated to what is happening can be wiped out. I had higher hopes for this one because the synopsis sounded so good. But 400 pages is just too long of a book for the way this one panned out in my opinion…Also, I went into this book expecting it to be a horror novel. It was definitely more of a mystery/suspense book and read as such. Dathan Auerbach writes extremely well and I want to check out his first book, Penpal, as well as keep an open eye for his future works. Thank you to Doubleday for providing the Night Worms this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Shaylee Jenkins
    January 1, 1970
    I recieved a free advanced copy from NetGalleyFirst off I would like to say this cover is stunning! It's super creepy and I wanted to read this before i even read the synopsis! In the prologue I was super excited because I got a Stephen King vibe... That's where it ended for me... I read the first 200 pages and nothing happened... Literally the first half is of the main character Ben just stalking shelves at the grocery store and i little bit of him hanging flyers around town... BORING! This boo I recieved a free advanced copy from NetGalleyFirst off I would like to say this cover is stunning! It's super creepy and I wanted to read this before i even read the synopsis! In the prologue I was super excited because I got a Stephen King vibe... That's where it ended for me... I read the first 200 pages and nothing happened... Literally the first half is of the main character Ben just stalking shelves at the grocery store and i little bit of him hanging flyers around town... BORING! This book did not need to be 400 pages... It should have been a short story with 200 pages tops! Around the 300 page mark, still not much has happied. A few times I thought "okay this is it! This is where it's going to get really good and I can breeze right thought the last bit of pages"... this was not the case just went you think its going to pick up it cuts to a different almost pointless scene. I think think I would have liked this book if it was at least 200 pages shorter. The ending is good and there's a creepy story within the story that i loved, but the book as a whole was not for me. There is too much fillers and almost no suspense throughout the 400 page book!
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  • Emily Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Filled with a growing sense of paranoia and tension, Bad Man is a horror book worth reading. It shares a very similar tone to Gillian Flynn's novels. You follow the slow-paced discoveries leading the main characters towards a harrowing conclusion.While the underlying story is that of a missing boy, the story really focuses on his older brother Ben. They were both just kids when on a trip to the grocery store, Ben turned away for just a second and his brother disappeared. Now, years later, Ben is Filled with a growing sense of paranoia and tension, Bad Man is a horror book worth reading. It shares a very similar tone to Gillian Flynn's novels. You follow the slow-paced discoveries leading the main characters towards a harrowing conclusion.While the underlying story is that of a missing boy, the story really focuses on his older brother Ben. They were both just kids when on a trip to the grocery store, Ben turned away for just a second and his brother disappeared. Now, years later, Ben is dealing with his sense of guilt and shame for what happened while living in a fractured home. With few job opportunities, Ben is forced to go back to the scene of the crime and get a job as a stock boy at that very same store. Missing person flyers start appearing and disappearing where they shouldn't. Ben finds remanents of his brother he thought were long gone. Someone at the store may be responsible for the disappearance of Eric, but who? And what exactly happened all those years ago?Auerbach focuses much less on the immediate aftermath of the missing child but rather the emotional strain that it causes years later. He filled the world with a cast of characters that were well written and flushed out creating a place that felt timeless. Ben's struggle to deal with his parents and society leaves him an outcast and gives us an unreliable narrator that equally tugs at your heart and leaves you suspicious.I’m providing this review in return for an ARC through NetGalley.
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  • Morgyn Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    I got a lot of questions
  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    **Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for a free copy of Bad Man in exchange for an honest review**First and foremost, let's take another look at that cover! I absolutely love it. That creepy shopping cart caught my attention immediately. Three-year-old Eric goes missing at a local grocery store while under his big brother Ben's supervision. Five years later, Ben finds himself so desperate for work that he applies at the same grocery store to work the night shift. The longer Ben works at **Thank you to NetGalley and Doubleday Books for a free copy of Bad Man in exchange for an honest review**First and foremost, let's take another look at that cover! I absolutely love it. That creepy shopping cart caught my attention immediately. Three-year-old Eric goes missing at a local grocery store while under his big brother Ben's supervision. Five years later, Ben finds himself so desperate for work that he applies at the same grocery store to work the night shift. The longer Ben works at the store, the more clues he seems to find about Eric's disappearance. Not only does the store feel ominous, his co-workers, local police, and even his own stepmother seem suspicious as well. However the more we get to know Ben, the more we realize he is an unreliable narrator. He has trouble remembering conversations and moments so you never really know if what he is saying is accurate. So what really happened to Eric? Will Ben finally get some answers? And just how far will Ben go to get those answers he so desperately wants? You'll have to read for yourself to find out!This was a solid 3.5 stars for me. Auerbach does a wonderful job portraying the grief and heartache a family suffers after a horrible tragedy. He also leaves tons of red herrings along the way so as soon as you think you know what's going on, you realize that you actually have no freaking clue. I do feel like for some reason this book dragged at times and was occasionally hard to follow. It felt a little too long but looking back I can't pinpoint anything specific that should have been cut. The end isn't all wrapped up in a little bow, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some things could have been a little better explained, but that might have been done on purpose so the reader draws their own conclusions. I'm definitely putting Auerbach's first novel Penpal on my TBR!
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