The Toy Thief: D.W. Gillespie
Reviewed By Steve Stred
If you’ve followed my reading journey of this book on Goodreads – please ignore it!
I had wanted to read this for some time, and I ended up ordering it in paperback last summer when Flametree Press had their July 4th sale! I ended up reading Wolf Land by Jonathan Janz first, then was going to dive into The Toy Thief. The problem is, I just NEVER have time to read physical releases. I tried and I tried and from October until December, I had only managed to get about 40 pages in.
So, I finally got fed up and purchased the ebook. I started it and due to review books with ASAP coming through, I kept pushing this back and back. Well, finally I prioritized it and once I did, this story flew along.
KR: And then I sat on the review for months so apologies from me too.
This one’s really hard to describe. At its core, it is a coming-of-age horror, but I really kept finding that it read like a truly dark fantasy story and for me that elevated this.
The story is really straight forward. A ten-year-old girl and a thirteen-year-old boy, brother and sister, live with their father. Their mother passed away during childbirth and because of that the boy harbours a lot of anger towards his sister.
One night, when the sister falls asleep in the living room, she wakes when she hears a noise. She watches as their sliding glass door opens and a creature from her nightmares steals a toy.
From there Gillespie takes us on a fantastic ride. A tale that has family dynamics and drama and some of the creepiest scenes I’ve ever read.
I thoroughly enjoyed how each character was first introduced and then slowly morphed. I loved how we find out some information about the creature/character dubbed The Toy Thief, and while I would have loved to learn so much more, by Gillespie keeping some of it close to his chest, it helped to amplify the creature and lets it be capable of anything.
After having read ‘One by One’ and now ‘The Toy Thief,’ Gillespie has cemented himself as a must-read author for me. He’s delivered some of the creepiest, darkest, bleakest scenes I’ve read over the last few years and with how different each story has been delivered, I’m super intrigued to see what’s coming next.
I feel like this might have been an overlooked release from Flametree when it arrived. So if you’ve got this sitting on your TBR, or are intrigued, I highly recommend you snag this one.
The Toy Thief
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?
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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