Book InfoDon't Be Scared by AJ Merlin
Rating: Book ratings explained
Genres: Dark Romance, New Adult Romance, Romantic Suspense
Purchase at: Amazon | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU
Every town has a history.
Ours is just a little darker than most.
For years I’ve celebrated Halloween and Hollow Bridge’s history with everyone else who lives here. Parades, festivals, and insane Halloween parties have always been a staple for us. Some bad behavior is expected, given what we’re celebrating.
But murder has never been on the table before.
Someone in Hollow Bridge wants to bring the stories to life, and they’re not firing any warning shots. When rumors of someone wearing a Halloween mask surface, it isn’t long before the first person is killed.
No one is safe, but when I end up with a serial killer kneeling over me and a knife at my throat, I expect to be the next victim of the Hollow Bridge killer. I don’t expect for him to speak to me, from behind the garish mask he wears.
“Who should be the next to die, Bailey?”
Inexplicably, he lets me go. But I’m never going to be safe from him.
Because he wants more from me than just a name.
Don’t Be Scared is a full-length, MMF standalone for anyone looking for a dark Halloween read. It contains graphic violence, spicy scenes, and murder.
Don't Be Scared - My Review
It feels like we’ve been waiting ages for AJ Merlin to release another book but in reality, it’s only been two months since Pretty Little Killer. We know this girl’s gotta get her serial killer smut fix and Don’t Be Scared did not disappoint. Not only did it tick all my boxes, but it’s gotten me well and truly in the mood for Halloween.
Twenty years old, and my mother still looks offended when I use words like fuck or hell or necrophilia.
Though I suppose the last one might be reasonable.
Bailey is a classic AJ Merlin heroine; quirky with some health-related idiosyncrasies and a limited social circle. She’s less of a final girl than some of Merlin’s other characters, but this only leads you to suspect that she’s going to hold her own in the face of the serial killer who’s appeared in town. She’s also got a sassy attitude and snarky sense of humour that you can’t help but love.
Bailey has one hell of a backstory; at the age of 13, she nearly died when she fell through the ice on the town pond. Her best friend, Daisy, wasn’t so lucky. In the years since Bailey has known that the accident was a setup and that five of their peers were responsible. Now Daisy’s brother, Phoenix, is back in town for the Halloween Festival and people are turning up dead. People who were involved in Bailey and Daisy’s accident all those years ago.
If he wasn’t a murderer, he’d be the perfect boyfriend. Though if I’m honest with myself, I’m not sure murderer is the red flag for me that it should be.
I will admit that the story was a little predictable, but I was totally there for it. There’s a comfort in knowing (or thinking you know) what’s going to happen in these kinds of stories and it didn’t impact upon my enjoyment of the book. I could give you plenty of examples but I’m not the spoiler type. Just know that Phoenix and Rory are everything you expect they will be, and that includes sinfully hot.
There were all sorts of moments that I loved in this book, including the uncomfortable point when Bailey’s dad realises she’s dating two guys who are also dating each other and they have to explain it all. There’s a healthy dose of realism to Bailey’s inner thoughts as well, as she navigates the emotional practicalities of her dating triangle and just how it works to fall for a serial killer and his serial killer friend.
I knew I wanted you when I saw you in the woods, standing over a dead bird like you wanted to play with it.
And the steam! Because you know an AJ Merlin novel will have it. It’s not the steamiest of her books and is less kinky than some of her recent offerings but Don’t Be Scared is still thigh-clenchingly hot. This one is especially good for lovers of masked men who like to toy with their prey; you’ll be salivating reading the first steamy scene taking place at the Halloween party.
In all honesty, compared to some of the blinders she’s released in the past year, Don’t Be Scared isn’t AJ Merlin’s most outstanding book, but if you want something stabby and steamy to read in the run-up to Halloween then you’re in for a thoroughly enjoyable read.