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Penpal by Dathan Auerbach Review

Title: Penpal

Author: Dathan Auerbach

First published June 1, 2012

243 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780985545505 (ISBN10: 098554550X)

Rating: 3.87


The spine-chilling tale of Penpal started as a collection of eerie stories shared on an online horror forum. Little did anyone know that it would soon evolve into an unsettling novel that would keep readers up at night.

The protagonist of the story delves into the mysterious and disturbing occurrences that marked his childhood, hoping to unravel the truth behind them. As he pieces together the fragments of his early years, he realizes that the terrifying incidents were not random but part of a bigger and sinister plot that has shaped his life and those around him.

If you’ve ever had a gut-wrenching feeling that something was amiss, if you’ve ever felt like the woods were closing in on you, or if you remember the first bond of friendship you ever made, then Penpal is a tale that will haunt you long after you’ve turned the last page.

About the Author

Dathan Auerbach spent most of his life in the southern U.S. In 2011, he shared a collection of horror stories on a forum. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, he was able to publish the revised and expanded version of his stories as the novel Penpal.

Editoral Review

Penpal by Dathan Auerbach is a gripping and eerie novel that explores the themes of loneliness, trauma, and the human psyche in a supernatural setting. Auerbach, who originally self-published this novel as a series of interconnected stories on the website Reddit, has since gained a dedicated following and published the novel through 1000Vultures.

The novel begins with a protagonist who is trying to make sense of a series of disturbing events from his childhood. As he recalls the events, he realizes that they are all connected to a mysterious pen pal who started writing to him in elementary school.

The pen pal’s letters were innocent at first, but they gradually became more and more unnerving, and the protagonist soon realized that the pen pal was not who he claimed to be. Auerbach’s writing style is immersive, with vivid descriptions that bring the settings to life and make the reader feel as though they are experiencing the events firsthand.

The novel is divided into chapters that alternate between the protagonist’s present-day reflections and his recollections of the past, which creates a sense of tension and intrigue as the reader tries to piece together the mystery. One of the strengths of the novel is its portrayal of trauma and its effects on the human psyche.

The protagonist’s experiences with his pen pal have left deep scars on him, and the novel explores the ways in which he copes with these traumas as an adult. The supernatural elements of the novel are also well-executed, with a sense of creeping dread that builds throughout the story.

However, the novel is not without its flaws. Some of the dialogue and character interactions can feel stilted, and the pacing can be slow at times.

Additionally, some of the supernatural elements are left unexplained or feel contrived. Overall, Penpal is a haunting and captivating novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Fans of horror and suspense will appreciate Auerbach’s masterful storytelling, while readers who are interested in exploring the effects of trauma on the human psyche will find much to ponder. While the novel has its flaws, these do not detract from the overall quality of the story.

I highly recommend Penpal to anyone who enjoys a good thriller or who wants to explore the darker side of the human experience. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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