5-Star Review: "If you find yourself scared while reading, don’t say I didn’t warn you."

The Punished

by Peter Meredith

Genre: Horror

Book Synopsis

12-year-old Curt Regis lives the carefree life of a beggar and a thief. Homeless since the age of six, he uses his guile and street smarts, as well as a glib, smooth lying tongue to reign as king of the street rats. So when he is caught breaking into a school and is sent back into foster care for the ninth time, he is quite confident that not only will it be a short stay, he will also be gone again in a day or two with a new set of clothes on his back and his bag filled with silverware, jewelry and maybe if he is really lucky, a Play station to pawn.

He is a veritable modern day Artful Dodger, with his breezy, devil-may-care attitude. However, his luck has run out. This time he is sent to what many in the foster-care system consider the perfect home. It is a home from which no one has ever runaway. A beautiful home where not a word of complaint is ever heard, where in fact, very few words are ever spoken and where the only real sounds that disturb the stagnant air are the screams of the punished.

Bec's Rating

Bec's Review

On reading the synopsis, I expected this story to be one of abuse and in a way it is. What I did not expect was the chilling supernatural story that is The Punished. I won’t spoil anything, as it takes awhile for the book to get to the true nature of the punishment, beyond saying that the administrator and very nature of the punishments themselves chilled me to the bone. There were several times when I found myself scared reading this book, which is the true mark of any horror story.

Curtis, our main character, is only 13 years old but this does not make this a book for those of that age. The horrifying nature of the story and some particularly graphic and violent scenes makes this book enough to scare even the most well read adult. If you enjoy being scared, with your adrenalin pumping as you read a book then this book is for you. But read at your own risk as Peter Meredith is such a story teller that, if you are prone to them, this book can easily give you nightmares.

I greatly enjoyed reading The Punished. From feeling sorry for the other children who had succumbed to various forms of insanity in the house, to disliking and, in the case of Matt even hating them for their actions towards Curt; from being hopeful that Curt would escape a punishment, to grimacing when the plots of the others saw him a victim, and to being terrified at the evil that lurked in the house, this book did not fail to evoke strong emotions in me. If you think you can handle some of the frightening and graphic scenes of this book then this one is for you and, who knows, you may be made of sterner stuff than I am. But if you find yourself scared while reading, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Disclaimer: This book is not recommended for children due to violence, graphic scenes, and horror.