Review: Suburban Legend by BJ Sheppard

Halloween is coming, and as the parents of Damsel Creek celebrate the occasion in style, the teen population of the sleepy town are forced into caring for their youngest counterparts. As Aaron settles in to a night of babysitting at the house of the Chief of Police, he faces strange occurrences at every turn. With news of a killer on the loose, he tries to convince himself his mind is playing tricks on him, but when a series of menacing phone calls alert him that the threat is real, he has no other option than to fight. Can Aaron make it through the night as the target of a stalker who desires his death, or will Halloween be coming early this year?

Are you brave enough to read what happens when the line between real life and horror blurs?

A situation horror from the author of ‘The Rainbow Connection’ series and ‘That Day in Spring’.

Warning: scenes of violence, terror, and little to no romance. This is a tale of horror. Expect no love scenes.

Dammit BJ Sheppard.


Do you know how many hours of sleep you owe me?

I love you and hate you so much right now.

It was getting late when I started this one and I figured I’d just read a chapter or two. It’s been on my TBR for entirely too long and I was anxious to finally dive in. Fast forward to 1:30 am, the end of the book and the exclamation, “Dammit BJ Sheppard!”

Firstly, I LOVE horror. Books, movies, whatevs, bring it. Especially the ones that have a heavy dose of mindfuckery, I like that more than the guts and gore and a story with a good balance of the two is a win for me. That’s what Suburban Legend was. Remember that movie When A Stranger Calls? The original one, not the remake, it’s never the remake. The first half of Suburban Legend is highly reminiscent of Carol Kane getting THE phone calls. In this story though the babysitter is Aaron, a somewhat shy loner who is hoping to make some extra cash sitting for the Chief of Police’s son while he’s at work and the wife is out partying for Halloween. While the blurb is pretty clear there is no romance in the book, Aaron does have a boyfriend, Tommy, who is the absolute best and his presence in the story gave Aaron’s character more depth and the few interactions they had were “first love” adorable.

The Chief’s house is too big and too quiet and there is an ominous air even though so far, nothing has happened. Then the phone calls start. I’m actually not going to say much about the story specifically, because that would be a buzzkill and you have to read this kind of stuff first hand to get the full effect. There aren’t really huge surprises (plenty of shocks though) and the facts of the story are exactly what you expect from an urban legend. And we all know that some of the best classic horror stories start with urban legends.

This has all the things that make horror stories so fun and I did all the stupid shit expected from a fan. You see, I like to make horror stories interactive. Well, reactive at least as I’m the goon yelling at the fictional characters as if they can hear me and I truly believe my increasing levels of frustration and my raised heart rate will somehow affect the outcome of the story. It could happen.
  1. I questioned the authorities. Where were they? What was talking so long? Seriously, y’all have one job here and that is to protect my Aaron. Do your damn job! Right after I thought that Aaron says, “Where were the police? What was taking them so damn long?” Then there’s me, “That's what I said, I know right?!?!?!”
  2. I cursed and jumped every time the damn phone rang. Actually I cursed A LOT while reading, that was half the fun. But, every time the damn phone rang. Every. Damn. Time. Especially at 67%. Fucking phone.
  3. I said some version of “For the love of sweet grilled cheezus Aaron, do not: go in that room, up those stairs, through that door, down the hallway, etc., etc.” Followed closely by, “Dammit Aaron!” Then Aaron said, “I felt like I was in a horror movie, making that dumb decision every victim chooses . . . “ This book was totally playing horror story hijinks along with me.
While the first half was ominous and quiet mindfuckery the second half was all survival and fear.

“The kitchen was empty, save for myself and the terror that was do tangible it was like a partner to me, sitting beside me and sharing in my panic.”

It was non-stop and exhausting. Aaron is turning into such a badass though and I was rooting for him so hard. Every time he’d make a little headway something would go sideways and he’d be faced with another deadly obstacle. The evil goes deeper than the reader is originally led to believe and the mindfuckery is back in spades. The psychopath’s backstory is a heartbreaker and I was pissed that I felt a tiny nugget of sympathy for him. He was soooooo broken, but the real evil was so much bigger him.

There is no comfortable place to break while reading Suburban Legend, you have to power through because you can’t stop until you know ALL the things. At least I couldn’t/wouldn’t. There’s a tiny little note at the back that says more is coming. I certainly hope so! Because the ending was a classic, “FFS you have GOT to be kidding me!” ending that was awful and it was perfect.

Thank you BJ for writing such a great story. You have a beautifully evil dark side and I love it.

For more info on Suburban Legend, check it out on Goodreads or Booklikes!

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**