Thinking Outside the Box

Starting out with the comment that this is not a spoiler, in The Bad Box by Harvey Click, the bad box is a coffin. It might be a coffin look-alike, such as an abandoned refrigerator. Any material could be used for construction. The only requirement is that there are air holes. The purpose is a sensory deprivation of its inhabitants although some box managers carried this to an extreme. Eva Dietrick had gone a bit far by leaving Angel, her granddaughter, in the bad box so long that she died and Angel was going to have to do something about that. At least the grandson, Darnell had not died.

This novel doesn’t quite start out this way but the reader can note that this will be a very strange novel. The story has fifty-five chapters. Up to the nineteenth chapter, this is just your average tale of weird sex, domination, and decapitation. In at least one instance the decapitation was to obtain a wig; it was much more natural. There is storage of body parts for a purpose I have yet to discover. Then the novel takes a darker turn involving postmortem reanimations and a feud that spans centuries with two principal opponents determined to finalize everything in our present time. This is not a family-friendly novel. Fans of The Walking Dead might find this extreme.

After chapter nineteen, the novel leans more to fantasy and horror as opposed to the simple horror described above. Despite the horrific content, this is a very interesting and captivating novel. There is a story of multiple personalities, some of which cross the border between death and life, some which may not. There are well-developed characters. Sarah, the main protagonist, has problems with relationships, they seem to lean towards abuse. Her character is well developed from beginning to end of the novel. Somewhere in the middle of the tale, she will meet Ben, a principal character she doesn’t initially like. She has reasons for this but her opinions will change as Ben’s character is fleshed out and Sarah takes a second look. Peter, an earlier love of Sarah’s life, is despicable. He was despicable from the beginning but as his character develops, he becomes worse.

This novel has surprise after surprise. They lie in character development and plot. I saw a sharp divide between the first twenty chapters and the rest of the novel but the shift made sense; it was a shift of focus to include more otherworldly experiences. Once carnage sets in and I can anticipate further carnage, I get bored but the shifting nature of this novel kept me turning pages to the end. Although there is a surprise ending and this is a self-contained novel, Harvey Click has left room for a sequel. Hyperlinks at the end of this novel do not lead me to any sequels for The Bad Box but I am sure I will go on to read Demon Frenzy and Demon Mania.

3 comments

    1. Wow! What a great review. Fans of Harvey Click should read your review as a complement to the novel. In another spelling of an often misused word, it is also great to get such praise (compliment) from John Monk about your review. I knew there was a good reason to follow your blog.

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