As a big fan of Bryan Smiths, I’m genuinely excited by his output right now. The last few years have seen him wrap up his most beloved series (‘Depraved 4’), dabble in the murder mystery genre (‘Invitation To Death’), deliver a heavy metal infused grindhouse novel (‘Racing With The Devil’) and create one of horrors most unique new villains in ‘The Unseen’. Smith continues his hot streak with a follow-up to the latter, just over six months after its publication.

The Unseen II picks up six months after the events of the first book, Allison Cook’s life has begun to stagnate. Turns out getting want you want isn’t good for the soul, particularly when you do some truly horrible stuff to get it, and Allison’s mental state is fast deteriorating as she struggles to cope with life with The Visitor, who remains a constant but unseen presence. 

The Unseen II by Bryan Smith

When Allison begins to pine for a return to how things used to be, she unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that will drive her deeper into the dark and dangerous world of The Visitor and push her closer towards the precipice of madness.

If you’re expecting a re-tread of the same basic plot of the first book, prepare to be pleasantly surprised, as while it does carry on Allison’s story, the sequel goes to some unexpected and very different places than its predecessor. If the first book were about the discovery and obsession of Allison’s newfound addiction, The Unseen II is far more concerned with what addiction looks like after months of unfettered indulgence and what that does to a person’s mental state. It’s an intriguing direction as, on the face of it, Allison got her wish at the end of book one, and it’s interesting to see her come to the realisation that what you want and what you need are two different things, and come to terms with the fact that she gave up what truly mattered to her in order to give in to her baser desires.

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I shouldn’t paint this entirely as a serious, psychological deep dive into the effects of addiction, because this is a Bryan Smith book, and it is a hell of a lot of fun. With almost forty books under his belt, there are certain things you’ve come to expect from one of his novels. Copious amounts of violence? Absolutely. The Unseen II really ups the ante from the first book in this regard. Fast-paced? Check. This book was unputdownable, as it bounced Allison from one crisis to another, each more wild than the last. The story may go in unexpected directions, but it is unmistakably a Bryan Smith story and fans will be more than satisfied.

The Unseen was perhaps my favourite Bryan Smith book since 2015’s ‘Slowly We Rot’ and I was thrilled a sequel was announced so soon after the first book’s release. With the follow-up boasting one of the best endings Smith has ever written, hinting at some fantastic directions the series could go, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that an announcement about a third book is not too far behind.

Richard Martin

Richard Martin

Reviewer

Richard Martin started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatized himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner and an inappropriate amount of books. 

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