Blood Worth by D. B. McKenzie
I received a free e-ARC in exchange for a review. Devon is a young man alone in the world after his homophobic father abandoned him. To earn money he signs up to become a blood donor for a mysterious company, but things are more than they seem.
Queer, new adult, urban fantasy, horror
The pills only help if the monsters aren’t real. Sadly, Devon McKenzie figured that out a little too late.
Running from his homophobic father and a mental diagnosis he’s unwilling to accept, Devon finds himself in Sudbury where the people are friendly, the parks are quiet and a looming shadow cast by the local Centre taints the idyllic village life.
Unfortunately for Devon, the Centre is his only hope of maintaining his new-found freedom.
Selling his blood to an organization that no one seemed to truly know anything about wasn’t very high on his list of things to do but after signing a contract, Devon finds himself as bound to the Centre as the poor souls that came before him.
The contract promised money and security, it didn’t say a thing about dead donors, a mysterious shadow dog that was definitely a wolf, or the return of horrific visions that Devon thought he’d buried when he’d left the psychiatric institution that his parents had sent him to years ago.
As the Centre’s secrets continue to grow, Devon begins to realize that Sudbury isn’t the quaint little village he believed it to be. Monsters linger behind every gentle smile and the more Devon digs, the weaker his grip on his sanity becomes.
With another donor’s life hanging in the balance, Devon finds himself in a race against time to figure out what the Centre is truly hiding before it’s too late for all of them.
But the only truth that exists in the quiet town of Sudbury, is that what you see isn’t always what you get and a few drops of blood may be worth more than humanity could possibly imagine.
This was a spooky urban fantasy with a highly intriguing mystery. The mystery unfolds slowly so you have to keep reading for more. I was hooked on it and was eager to discover the answers.
Unfortunately, the ending was a bit unsatisfying. The reveal wasn’t explained very well so I was left confused about what exactly happened, even though it didn’t seem I was supposed to be. Also, the fate of a major character wasn’t even mentioned, which felt odd because he was a huge part of the story.
This left me disappointed, but other than that the story was really good. I loved the friendship dynamic between Devon and Tara, their relationship was so sweet and wholesome and I loved their scenes together.
The scenes where Devon “hallucinates” monsters are genuinely creepy, and you can feel the confusion and terror he has even though he believes them to not be real.
His flashbacks to his psychiatrist were particularly resonant because of the large degree of mental health professionals who misdiagnose and talk condescendingly to their patients. The misunderstanding might not be as extreme as in the book, but Devon’s conundrum of needing help but not knowing where else to find it but a psychiatrist who doesn’t fulfill his needs is something real people have to go through.
This was a great, creepy adventure and another great release from Gurt Dog Press.