Curse of the Murderous Dummy

Atomic City Terror Book 1

Fiction - Horror
253 Pages
Reviewed on 11/20/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Curse of the Murderous Dummy is a work of dynamic horror fiction penned by author Michael Ray Laemmle and forms the first novel of the Atomic City Terror series. Set in the series’ titular town, science fiction, fantasy, and horror collide in this place where the atomic bomb was first constructed. Evil lurks here, and scientist Jim is right at the center of a devastating new discovery. A love of ventriloquism seems to link the central characters, including a murderous dummy with a mind of its own. What follows is a darkly comedic horror romp with plenty of scares and laughs along the way.

Author Michael Ray Laemmle brings to life a quintessential horror town with plenty of bang for its buck in this, the opening to the Atomic City Terror series. With lots of playful homages to classic eighties horror thrown in, the vibes from this dark and creepy little place hark back to the golden age of horror atmosphere. The wordplay is both cinematic and amusing, with colorful injections of dark humor that cut through the tension but also often mask the next big shock that’s coming. The demon dummy concept has been done before, but Laemmle handles this intelligently and pokes fun at the old ways before bringing forth his fresh new twists on the genre and its many tropes. Overall, Curse of Murderous Dummy will suit those adults who never really wanted to grow out of Goosebumps: a dark and intelligent murder comedy with tons of atmosphere and charm.

Ruffina Oserio

Curse of the Murderous Dummy is book one in the Atomic City Terror series by Michael Ray Laemmle, a powerful novel that will grip fans of horror and won’t let them go until they have turned the very last page of the story. It is set in a town called Atomic City, a place littered with weird characters. The reader is introduced to Jim Higgins at the start of the story, a physicist who “thoroughly and literally” blew up his own wife in his laboratory and who is hunted by a demented, erratic, lousy, devilish dummy, determined to lop his head off. Then there is Hank Cooper, a father and husband, who is a project manager in the Environmental Remediation Department, an alcoholic with many eccentricities and links with the dummy. What do these characters have in common?

This is horror told in the most humorous of voices, a gripping story that follows Jim as he struggles with the thought of his own murder. What makes it even more painful is that he hears the voices of the three most important women in his life: his mother, his wife, and his estranged daughter. They don’t do him much good but help in driving the debilitating sense of fear that inhabits his consciousness. Michael Ray Laemmle’s writing is filled with imagery that permeates the entire story. There are chills, darkness, and a sense of uncertainty, and there is also light in the writing. The characters are elaborately developed and readers will enjoy watching as they evolve through the narrative. Curse of the Murderous Dummy is deftly written, character-driven, and so ingeniously plotted it arrests the attention of the reader and keeps them turning the pages nonstop. I savored every bit of it, especially the humor and the author's unique turn of phrase.

Rabia Tanveer

Curse of the Murderous Dummy is a horror/dark humor story that is the first book in the Atomic City Terror series by Michael Ray Laemmle. What happens when the puppet becomes the puppeteer? Set in the secluded town of Atomic City, New Mexico, people were happy the way they had been living for years. Among these people is Hank Cooper, his wife Nancy and his children Jessie and Jake. Things change in their lives when Hank suddenly decides to become a ventriloquist. He hopes to bring fame and fortune to his family and goes out to buy a ventriloquist doll named Woody the Wooden Dummy. However, soon everyone realizes that Woody is not as innocent as it seems. Hank seems to be getting into trouble since he bought Woody and things are becoming more sinister and serious than any of them ever anticipated. Is Woody really just a dummy? Or is there more to the story?

This series has the potential to become like the Fear Street/Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine, but for adults. Creepy, horrifying and especially gory in certain places, this novel had me on the edge of my seat and made me regret reading this at night. Woody is horrifying, not only because he is a talking dummy but also because he seems to have nefarious plans that only he knows. He enjoys others' pain far too much and he made me terrified for some unexplainable reason. The narrative was very descriptive, which made me even more invested in the story and made it seem all real. The vivid imagery, the dialogues, and all the characters were very well-handled and crafted. If you think Annabel is scary, you haven’t read about Woody yet!