The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson
Published by Gallery / Saga Press on September 29, 2020
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
Pages: 306
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Stranger Things meets World War Z in this heart-racing conspiracy thriller as a lonely young woman teams up with a group of fellow outcasts to survive the night in a town overcome by a science experiment gone wrong.
Turner Falls is a small tourist town nestled in the hills of western Oregon, the kind of town you escape to for a vacation. When an inexplicable outbreak rapidly develops, this idyllic town becomes the epicenter of an epidemic of violence as the teenaged children of several executives from the local biotech firm become ill and aggressively murderous. Suddenly the town is on edge, and Lucy and her friends must do everything it takes just to fight through the night.


I went into The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson not really knowing what to expect. I’ve never watched or read World War Z, and when it comes to Stranger Things, I’ve only watched the first three episodes of the first season. Still, the synopsis sounded interesting and as it is the Halloween season, I thought I would take a chance and boyo, this was a wild ride!

The number one thing I want to talk about first before anything else, which is also the main thing that sticks in my mind long after I finished reading, is the ended. No, no spoilers only to say it was a very good and satisfying ending that made sense. Many times, it is so hard, especially with horror stories, to come up with a satisfying ending that feels earned and deserved. You either get a happy ending that is incongruent with the rest of the novel, or everything ends in the bad times despite things working out or not building toward that. Here, the ending was still not something I expected and yet, looking back, I don’t see how it could have been anything else. Just, perfection.

Now, to talk about everything else (since I know if reviewers complaining about the ending not being up to par, then I don’t really feel invested in learning anything else or pick up the book.) The story itself is really interesting and incredibly insidious. The “science experiment” mentioned in the synopsis is something I could definitely see happening in the world, especially in the times we’re in right now, which is what truly makes this even more frightening.

The characters felt real and, more importantly, like actual teenagers. They weren’t teenagers that sounded like adults, nor were they teenagers that sounded like what adults think teenagers sound like (eg Steve Buscemi’s “How do you do fellow kids?”) From a burnout, to a conspiracy theorist, to BIPOC, these characters were ones you could relate to, at least for me as a latinx person newly living in a majority white town. What these characters go through on a daily basis, the prejudices they face, the false assumptions, all of it is amplified to the point of explosion and boy, with the times as they are right now, it feels very appropriate.

With solid pacing and increasing tension, the fear and unease make The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson an excellent horror read. I think it even makes for a great allegorical novel. I think this is just a really great, solid story with good writing, great characters, and an interesting premise. Definitely pick up a copy!


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