July 27, 2021

3:33 AM (2021) by Luke Hindmarsh – Book Review

Amazon Cover of 3:33 AM by Luke Hindmarsh.

You must have noticed that the Amazon cover for the horror novel 3:33 AM above has the tagline Guilt Will Haunt You – and if there was ever one subtitle that perfectly describes a narrative in one line then it’s the aforementioned one.

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Luke Hindmarsh is a new author for me but not to the industry. This is his latest novel and the writing style undoubtedly supports that fact. This novel also attracted me not only because of its haunting front cover and plotline, but also because a reviewer I wholeheartedly follow on Goodreads, C.T. Phipps, gave 3:33 AM a stunning review. You can read Phipps’ review here.

Now, there were many factors which I liked about 3:33 AM and a minority that I disliked.

3:33 AM – Pros

  • It’s quite unique to find a horror novel which can appeal to non-horror readers as well as enthusiasts of dark fiction. The book is extremely multi-genred but in a very balanced way. There’s the right amount of comedy, drama, action and most of all, horror, so it’s an all-in-one package.
  • The pacing is excellent and not once did I feel bored. I actually read a majority of the book’s length after lunch and I rarely read anything after lunch due to the laziness associated with an afternoon meal (for me at least).
  • The writing style is very simple but the descriptions and vocabulary are top-notch. In this sense there’s deeper meaning all throughout the novel but hidden under a layer of normalcy.
  • All the characters are interesting and unique. From the main duo (Saffron, Jack) to supporting characters like Lucy and Ian, it’s quite an ensemble. I really liked Lucy’s characterization as she formed the light in an otherwise dark narrative.
  • I am quite enamored by rock music especially of the 2000s. Bands like Godsmack, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson and others I am in favor of, are frequently mentioned in the storyline. As the major male character is part of a rock band, it makes sense, but I also applaud Hindmarsh for letting rock stay rock instead of what passes for rock these days (heavily digitized tracks).
  • Both love and family form crucial parts of this horror novel. This aspect is quite reminiscent of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor.
  • New Age and occult elements are really well researched. I read two biographies last year namely of Aleister Crowley and Helena Blavatsky and I have to state, as per my knowledge, Hindmarsh outdid himself by being able to write such an awesome fictional novel alongside doing a lot of heavy non-fictional research.

3:33 AM – Cons

  • The story’s length was an issue for me as I believed a shorter print length say of 250 to 280 pages could’ve led to a more thrilling experience overall.
  • Many passages seemed repeated like not exactly copy-pasted but like there was a lot of filler content as if to forcefully make the novel longer.

The Verdict

However, none of 3:33 AM’s miniscule flaws can overshadow its greatness. It’s not only the epitome of a spectacular horror novel, but in my opinion, transcends the horror genre as a whole. It’s one of the best novels I have ever read regardless of the category.

So, whether you prefer reading horror or not, 3:33 AM will keep you awake, and who knows, you might constantly check the clock to reassure yourself it’s not 3:33 AM, as the legendary Oscar Wilde once said:

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”

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