Traffic can be a real nightmare…
It’s just another day on a busy highway until everything comes to a screeching halt. The jam tails back forever. But there’s no cause for concern, no reason to panic. It’s a traffic jam, that’s all. Everything will get back to normal soon enough.
While people get out of their cars and pass the time with fellow travellers, fourteen-year-old Max sits in the back of his family’s campervan, with a knife hidden in his pocket. Those outside wonder about what’s causing the blockage up ahead. Max worries about why his dad sprung the road trip on them and wishes his mother would do more than stare at her feet. There’s some bitching on the road about being late, others hope no one was hurt. At least, they do until the screaming begins, and then the monster inside Max’s van isn’t the only thing for him to be scared of in The Jam.
A tense and claustrophobic story akin to King’s The Mist and Barker’s A Hellbound Heart, The Jam will take you on a thrilling horror ride where nothing and no one are as they seem.
The Jam centers on a group of disparate people, all traveling on an English motorway, who get caught in a traffic jam. There’s the internet guru, the professional soccer player, a couple and their teenage son, and an elderly retired doctor who kindly offers a lift to a working girl he meets at a service station.
Sitting in stopped traffic for hours is a nightmare at the best of times, but when weird things start happening, you will want to scream at the characters in the book “Run, run away while you still can!”
Dan Soule seems to be going from strength to strength. This novella is a strong follow up to his spectacular Savage, released earlier this year. The writing is smooth and fast paced, and the story is full of his trademark complex, flawed characters. However, I was disappointed that there were no dogs in this book, as I particularly love the canine characters in his previous novels.
Comparisons could be drawn to King’s ‘The Mist’, but Soule has taken a similar set up and developed a very different story. I found following English characters in such a setting highly entertaining.
Unfortunately, Soule includes a trope that I am not a fan of, which dampened my enjoyment of the novella, but as the plotting is so tight and the characters are so compelling, it would be unfair to remove more than one star because of my personal dislike of this trope.
Props to the wonderful cover art, which creates a suitably creepy atmosphere for what lies within.
Full of imagination, tense scenes and characters you will get invested in, this is a strong addition to Soule’s catalogue.
I award The Jam…
I received an ARC from the author and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
About the author
Born and raised in Nottinghamshire, England, Dan grew up in a small cathedral town called Southwell. He moved to Glasgow, Scotland aged 19 and met his now wife, a Northern Irish girl. Hence, Dan now lives in Northern Ireland on the beautiful Antrim Coast, with his wife and two children, Cassie the cat and Jessie the dog.