Review: A Song After Dark by Grant Palmquist

Norman is your typical "outcasted" high school student. He has no friends, no social life, and lives under the thumb of his over-bearing father. So when he meets Zach, he thinks he's won the lottery. Zach opens up a whole new world for him, a world of partying, doing drugs and meeting more girls than he ever thought was possible.
Unfortunately, Zach isn't all he pretends to be. He is hiding a dark and deadly secret. One that if revealed would be the end of him. Of course, only Norman's bad luck could drag him into Zach's world, throwing him head first into something he could not have anticipated.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
A Song in the Dark is told from two different points of view. The first is that of Norman, written in the first person, so that you get a glimpse of what he's really thinking and feeling, while the second is told in the third story person about Zach. His deeds, and to an extent, his thoughts.
Most of the characters in this are not likable in the least. As a Junior in High School, Norman is too old to be spanked, something his Father repeatedly does. His parents treat him as little more than a prisoner, even giving him grief for cutting his hair "without their permission". When he can't go out, and his parents calling his phone all of the time, its easy to understand why Norman has no friends, harder to understand why his parent's don't see that.
In fact, you begin to feel almost sorry for Norman early on, the way he desperately clings to Zach even when they are doing things he knows are wrong, and he doesn't want to do them, he still finds himself "caught up in the moment" in fear of losing Zach's friendship.
The only complaints I have with this novel are the graphic scenes in which animals and humans are tortured and killed, this novel is very descriptive, to the point of disturbing in some parts, and is definitely not for the faint of heart.
I also had issue with the way it ends, at least for Norman. What happens to him? Does he tell the truth? There are several questions left hanging after the final chapter which I wish were tied up better, however overall this was a gripping novel, and one I would recommend.
Due to the graphic and violent nature of this story, I would suggest it NOT be read by anyone with a weak stomach, who gets squeamish over the mention of blood and murder (especially that of animals), and by anyone who is under the age of 13.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of A Song After Dark in exchange for my honest review. This has not reflected on my review in any way.
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