1) iBOOKS LOVE IT
The good people of Apple's iBooks store were early adopters, making The Last Days Of Jack Sparks one of their books of March 2016! And oh my good God, that was not out of all the ‘genre’ books – that was all the books. So Jack Sparks rubbed shoulders with the likes of Maestra by LS Hilton, What Happened, Miss Simone? by Alan Light and Tracy Chevalier’s At The Edge Of The Orchard. The iBooks editors’ review called TLDOJS, “a whip-smart and impulsive thriller”, concluding, “Fans of breathless horror: meet your new favourite book”.
2) IT’S NOT JUST FOR HORROR FANS
Many enthusiastic reviewers state up-front that they’re not horror nuts per se, but got into Jack Sparks regardless. “I'm not a big reader of horror, in fact I haven't read much at all in the last couple of decades,” writes Amazon US reviewer Jane Dahle, handing the book five stars. And Holland’s Lattes And Literature writes: “I think it was the first book I've read that features exorcism and demonic possession in a long looooong time and I'm glad Jason Arnopp hooked me up! I don't think I've come across this theme since reading William Peter Blatty's classic The Exorcist back in high school.” More recently, a reviewer known only as 'Amazon Customer' declared that they "hate horror", yet called Sparks "the book release of the year"! Basically, it seems that this book functions as well as a thriller as it does as horror...
3) ... BUT OH DEAR LORD, IT’S SCARY
Yes, it definitely creeps people out. One of my favourite lines on this theme comes from Goodreads reviewer Bethany: “There were even times when I had to put it down because of fright”! That’s the stuff we want. Amazon UK reviewer Owen P calls it “genuinely creepy as hell”, while one Jon Oliver phrases it “scary as hell”. I’ll take either. “Right!” tweets Goldboro Books' Harry Illingworth, “#jacksparks has now officially freaked me the fuck out just before I'm going to try and sleep. Cool.” And Christ, the mighty author Christopher Brookmyre tweeted me to say, “It’s a lot to freak me out, but Jack Sparks did the trick”. Hell of a compliment, coming from this guy! Mr Brookmyre also states that this book is, “The Omen for the social media age”. I may never stop quoting this to people.
4) OH AND IT’S FUNNY TOO
While The Three author Sarah Lotz describes it as “Scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum”, she also notes that it’s, “Wittier than the lovechild of Stephen Fry and Charlie Brooker”. Reviews have called it “hilarious” and “laugh out loud funny”. Obviously I can pass all this information on without fear of immodesty, because I didn’t write The Last Days Of Jack Sparks. Jack did. He’s the one who wrote the main body of this book, delivering what veteran crime writer Ken Bruen has called, “the last word in gonzo journalism”.
5) THERE ARE CAMEOS FROM REAL PEOPLE
Obviously, Jack Sparks was a real person – a journalist, author and minor TV celebrity seen on panel shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Shooting Stars. We all know that. But The Last Days Of Jack Sparks also features a few real living people who gave permission for their encounters with Jack to be included in the book. I won’t name them here, so as not to spoil the surprise, but there are three of them and they’re all connected with horror films. Including one particular found footage gem. Wait and see! When these people gave their permission, it rather blew my mind.
UPDATE: Hey, one of these people is legendary filmmaker Roger Corman! I wrote a blog about that here.
6) AMAZON LOVE IT
Yes, Amazon chose the book as one of their Rising Stars: “the most promising debut novels being released throughout 2016”. It’s among 27 recommended debuts for March 2016, which isn’t bad going at all. The book’s also doing well review-wise at Amazon, with 11 star reviews as I write, every one of which dispenses five stars. Have you read and enjoyed Jack Sparks? Let me tell you, a review would be worth the Devil’s weight in gold.
7) THERE ARE EXORCISMS A-GO-GO
Do you like exorcisms? Who doesn’t? You simply can’t beat a priest and a possessed person shouting at each other. And there are no less than two exorcisms in The Last Days Of Jack Sparks. The first one is quite traditional (albeit with something of a spin in terms of Jack’s attitude to it), while the second is really quite different. You can read part of the first exorcism in this extract PDF which presents the Foreword and Chapter One. The power of Christ compels you!
8) SAIL THE SEVEN SEAS OF SPARKS
The Last Days Of Jack Sparks isn’t just a book: it’s a rabbit hole that runs deeper than you might think. After reading the book (or maybe before, I don’t think it’s really that spoilery) you can check out the official Jack Sparks website, which stands in tribute to Jack. Celebrities line up to recall their meetings with Jack, whether good or bad, and some of Jack’s final posts on social media have been lovingly preserved. You can see me delivering a heartfelt eulogy at a secret wake! And, as of this weekend, you can hear me interviewing Jack’s brother Alistair Sparks! Plus, make no mistake: there’ll be lots of discussion and debate to be had about this book.
9) IT’S A SPEEDY READ
People seem to burn through this book. This is mostly due to a special chemical that Orbit Books have applied to the front and back cover. Once you put both hands on it, you’re physically and psychologically unable to let go until you’ve mentally absorbed every word within. Radio 1 DJ Daniel P Carter says, “I smashed through it in a couple of days. If you enjoy smart supernatural thrillers then read this book”. Goodreads reviewer Josie says, “Brilliant, finished in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down.”
10) BARNES & NOBLE LOVES IT
The US bookseller’s Sci Fi & Fantasy Twitter account branded it, “2016’s most twisted new fantasy”. I’ll buy that for a dollar!
11) EARLY ADOPTERS ARE COOL
The main release of The Last Days Of Jack Sparks is in July 2016 in the UK and Europe, followed by September in the US and Canada. So the first edition that snuck out on March 3 is primarily for super-cool early adopters like you. As the esteemed Irish broadcaster Rick O'Shea has said, "This should be lying on sun loungers everywhere this summer and flying off shelves". But why wait till summer when everyone's quacking about Jack Sparks? Plant your flag on this exciting new moon right now! You'll be carried through the streets on people's shoulders and showered with gold! (No, not in that way.)
Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon Canada | Amazon Australia
iBooks UK | iBooks US | iBooks Australia
UK: Waterstones | WH Smith | Sainsburys
Check out this site’s Jack Sparks page for all the links to places where you can grab yourself a copy. Do this AT ONCE, before I set the Devil on you!