The Blackened Threshold

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
380 Pages
Reviewed on 06/27/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

The Blackened Threshold is an apocalyptic satire by David Ben Efraim. Set in the small rural town of Hollow Crest, the story follows three friends, Jeremiah Baxter (Jerry), Naomi Wolfe, and Roger Silver, as they find themselves trying to stop a mysterious evil from swallowing up the entire town. After getting their hands on a nefarious painting, the three friends, especially Roger, become convinced that something sinister is going on, bringing out the worst in the people of Hollow Crest. With the inhabitants becoming increasingly violent, leading to a series of murders, Jerry and Naomi think it's best to bury the painting. Meanwhile, Roger embarks on his own quest, seeking to solve the mystery. As Hollow Crest is on the verge of death and destruction, isolated from the outer world, will the three friends find a way to save their beloved town?

A surreal, wicked, and hilarious take on the apocalyptic genre, The Blackened Threshold is well worth the read. David Ben Efraim tells the story of three friends trapped amid the gradual destruction of everything they had ever known and forced to assume the mantle of being saviors because the others are even more useless. Funny, clever, and full of quick-witted dialogue, the narrative is an absolute blast to go through. The characters are quirky and colorful, with distinct traits to their personalities that pop out of the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic between Jerry, Naomi, and Roger and found some of the scenes involving Roger rip-roaringly hilarious. Highly recommended.

Delene Vrey

A secret buried. Twice. Three friends, outliers in their town. A town that has never known violence or even crime. When Roger, the town's spiritual guru, sees something disturbing on the town's horizon, he knows something terrible is going to happen. Naomi, the town's art teacher, discovers a disturbing piece of art painted by one of her not-so-promising students. Jeremy, the night watchman at the town's biggest employer, has a disturbing dream. A mysterious yet hilarious adventure ensues in which the three friends try to save their small peaceful town by burning down the art gallery, breaking out of prison, and battling with a painting that grows roots and refuses to be moved. In their quest, they must dodge angry mobs and rebellious cows. They also cannot do all the saving alone and enlist the help of the town coroner, the librarian, and an old shop owner with a vendetta. Will the three friends succeed in their quest, or will they succumb to the madness unleashed on their town? The Blackened Threshold, written by David Ben Efraim, is a humorous escapade that promises to entertain.

David Ben Efraim has written a hilarious novel in which he explores the themes of conspiracy theories and their effect on society, the loss of literacy, and the obsolescence of libraries in a world where learning has become a chore. He explores the idea of a collective human mindset and how many of us have become followers and do not think for ourselves. He does all of this in The Blackened Threshold in such a humorous and witty manner that you cannot help but continue reading to see what the characters are going to do. The ironic humor is spot-on and breaks any atmosphere of seriousness that could develop. My favorite scene is when Naomi is helped over a wall. "It's… It's all right...women... they have a small terminal velocity, they can survive any fall." Roger was trying his best to be reassuring. "You're thinking of rats and squirrels." The rest of the book continues in the same fashion, and I cannot imagine the story being told in any other way.

K.C. Finn

The Blackened Threshold is a work of fiction in the comedy subgenre. It is aimed at mature readers and was penned by author David Ben Efraim. Following the general indifference to the awakening of great evil in the town of Hollow Crest, it falls upon three friends to start caring about what’s going on around them and maybe even do something about it. As the threat to the town grows more and more, the three must force themselves to be optimistic about their odds of success in the face of a bizarre enemy that won’t ever bow or break.

This book immediately establishes an excellent surrealist sense of humor that beautifully underpins the entire story and serves to enhance the investment that readers make in the world of the story. Whilst author David Ben Efraim has spun a humorous tale here, the accessibility of the narrative opens the reader up to the very relatable themes of trying to find a meaning for your life in a world that feels like it doesn’t care about you. The characters were excellently considered and developed, with each one of them delivering a stunning, nuanced characterization that evolved throughout the story in a dynamic and organic way that was consistently exciting to read. Overall, The Blackened Threshold is a book that dances with some intensely relatable themes and manages to find the humor throughout whilst doing so. It’s an excellent example of the genre, and I recommend it without hesitation to readers of any disposition.