Thursday, September 26, 2019

Book Review: 'School Wars' by Jonathan Dunne

School Wars: The Creeping Evil Series by [Dunne, Jonathan]
Irish author Jonathan Dunne, only 40 years of age, spent his teenage years working manual labor jobs before returning to school and college. He is now a sports journalist with an Irish television network. He is also a columnist with several sports magazines and co-editor of the Irish Grappler Magazine. He is a self made man, capable in every avenue he approaches including being a Black Belt in Taekwondo. He lives in Dublin, Ireland with his wife and children. His first book, FIA THE ENVOY, is The Blind World Series Book 1 and is a fantasy story leaning toward the horror and the paranormal. In his current book Dunne takes us into horror of a different type – and the audience is now Young Adults.

Jonathan’s penchant for horror and fantasy serve his mysteries well. It is also of significance that in honor of his intended Young Adult audience he opens his book within the classroom – without forgetting his ability to frighten the reader along the way. ‘Professor Stafford sat in his seat looking straight ahead. The net was closing. He was finished. The camera was set up and he was determined to leave something behind. Maybe a tenacious student would continue the research. It was a long shot. He faced the camera and began to speak. ‘By now there are twelve hours of recording,’ he said with a quivering voice. ‘They’re afraid of a child. It will be another ten years before the infant is born and they are waiting.’ Scraping along the walls forced him to stop. They were searching. ‘I’ve been labelled a madman. My research, my findings and my life’s work are destroyed. My reputation is in tatters and my wife... my beautiful wife is gone. I’m not afraid of death. There is a truth in death, I couldn’t find in life.’ The scraping grew louder. They were crawling all over the building. Professor Stafford halted the recording and walked towards the window. He opened the curtains and unbolted the window. It was a misty night over the city of London. He waited. All had gone quiet. Even the noisy car engines seemed to fade away. The scraping had stopped.’

And after this intro we jump 22 years later an the story of Tommy Tate begins. Questions raised are explored thoroughly in this story, and the synopsis makes that clear – ‘Evil has a new face. It creeps through the hallways and classrooms of our schools. Infecting and corrupting the youth. It's grip tightens across the Europe's classrooms. Two supernatural powers locked in a centuries old war are destroying the system designed to set us free. All in a bid for world domination. Into the fold crashes Tommy Tate. Outcast, persecuted and the scourge of both sides, Tommy will face a stark choice. Pick a side or die. For he is the one they fear above all others. However the abominations are watching. Wretched, hunted and hidden in the shadows, they search for their leader. A third way presents itself but is Tommy brave enough to take it?’

Jonathan Dunne is creating a niche - a blend of crime, horror, violence, all told with that special sense of Irish grace that keeps the reader closely aligned with the characters. He is building a strong literary stance. Grady Harp, September 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.