Today it’s my pleasure to bring a wee bit of horror with a smidgen of creepy with the BlogTour The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie. You might want to keep an eye on your toys and the other eye open whilst you are sleeping from now on.
A long time fan of all things dark and spooky, D.W. Gillespie began writing monstrous stories while still in grade school. At one point, his mother asked the doctor if there was anything she should be concerned about, and he assured her that some kids just like stories about decapitations.
He’s been writing on and off for over a decade, quietly building a body of work that includes horror and dark sci-fi. His novels include Still Dark, The Toy Thief, and a short story collection titled Handmade Monsters.
He lives in Tennessee with his wife and two kids, all three of which give him an endless supply of things to write about.
About the book
Jack didn’t know what to call the nameless, skeletal creature that slunk into her house in the dead of night, stealing the very things she loved the most. So she named him The Toy Thief…
There’s something in Jack’s past that she doesn’t want to face, an evil presence that forever changed the trajectory of her family. It all began when The Toy Thief appeared, a being drawn by goodness and innocence, eager to feed on everything Jack holds dear. What began as a mystery spirals out of control when her brother, Andy, is taken away in the night, and Jack must venture into the dark place where the toys go to get him back. But even if she finds him, will he ever be the same?
It knew – has to be one of the creepiest sentences in this book.
Jack blames herself for killing her mother, and so does her brother Andy. Their Dad is barely coping and they have a hate-fight relationship barring one exception, nobody else gets to treat either one of them badly. First rule of sibling war strategy – siblings come before outsiders.
The often strained relationship between the two of them takes on another level when one evening Jack accidentally sees something she wasn’t supposed to see. Something is in the house with them, a thing that wants their toys, until she realises it wants more than just their special toys.
Gillespie brings horror, dysfunctional relationships and reality together, which gives the read a surreal aura. At times the border between what is real, dream and the Toy Thief are skewed. I have a tendency to look for the metaphor, the hidden and the deeper meaning. Bad habit probably because sometimes a Toy Thief is just a Toy Thief, and not a Freudian slip.
Saying that, the Thief is attracted to the toys that hold a special emotional value to the child. The ones with an essence of nostalgia, sadness and also moments of joy attached to them. Toys equalling memories, which in turn make them more valuable to the child and the Thief.
One of the most poignant moments in the story is towards the end when the realisation of being broken, hence a possible danger to others, leads to a tragic decision. That is where the horror story takes a break and the real world slips in again. Where does the evil inside man end and the evil of the Thief begin?
There is no doubt the author has a talent for bringing nightmares to life and putting childhood trauma, albeit trauma caused by shadowy evil crawling along the ceilings at night, into words and creating the imagery to go with it.
Publisher: Flame Tree Press