A Review of Willy, by Robert Dunbar

October 7, 2011

Arts & Literature, Reviews

by Alex Mcdermott

As any of my regular readers know, gore and violence are not my thing. Most horror today, however, is just an excuse for torture, graphic violence, and bloodshed. Every now and then though, an author throws out the Horror 101 handbook and really digs into terror. Robert Dunbar’s Willy is one of those no-rules novels.

Dunbar opens the novel with a jumbled mess of words. My first reaction- huh? What am I reading? But we quickly discover we are reading a diary from a young boy. We never learn his name, but his journal tracks his experiences in a crumbling, decrepit school for troubled youth. His roommate is an enigmatic boy, Willy, who is feared, hated, and disturbed. How disturbed? Is he evil? How much control does this boy exert over the horrific events that take place? How culpable is the headmaster Spencer? Dunbar challenges us to examine the true nature of evil and leaves us wondering if there even is an answer!

The themes, setting, and characterization in the novel are amazing. There are only a few moments that distract us from the growing sense of dread throughout the novel. The joyride, for example, is a jarring break in the tension that felt very out of time and place. And instead of creating a consistently dark, ominous figure with Willy, he at times comes across as cocky, whining, and frivolous.

Dark, haunting, and disturbing, Willy is a welcome change from the pile of body parts in the average horror novel. We are drawn into this decaying school and the frayed psychological state of everyone from staff to students. The terror is unseen, unspoken, but very real. A must-read. Five Stars!



To purchase Willy, via, please click here.
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3 Comments on “A Review of Willy, by Robert Dunbar”

  1. B.E. Scully Says:

    A book that stays with you long after the last page…great review, great book!


  2. Drew Keaton Says:

    A great novel that’s for sure! Authors like B.E. Scully, Andrew Wolter, and Robert Dunbar are keeping the literary horror genre alive and well!


  3. Paul G Bens Jr Says:

    A most excellent review for a most amazing book.


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