A Novel

Fiction - Horror
376 Pages
Reviewed on 10/29/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Steve Sullivan grew up on Cape Cod in the small town of Dennis Port, Massachusetts. From his youth he loved the art of story-telling and letting his imagination run free. He studied at the Boston Architectural Center and later at the University of Phoenix, earning his degree in 1999. Steve Sullivan lives with his two children in Arizona. Writing under the pen name A.G. Sullivan, The Katzenstein Kids and the Eye of Horus is his first novel in a planned series quickly earned 5-STARS from READERS' FAVORITE.

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A young boy suddenly develops a fear of holes, leading his father to search for the source in the horror novel, Trypophobia by A.G. Sullivan. Awakened in the middle of the night by his son Ben's screams, Brian rushes into his room to discover Ben covered in tiny red ants. This night is just the beginning of more horrifying and bizarre events to come. As Ben's emotional state begins to deteriorate, the household falls into disarray. When Ben kills his sister's pet, Brian loses his job due to his frequent time off related to Ben's needs. Soon death claims more than just animals, and Brian realizes his children's lives are at stake. His father dies, and when Brian flies out to bury him, he discovers his father had an evil side he never knew. Researching his father's background, Brian believes Ben's issues might be related to a crime his father committed decades ago. Is it possible someone cursed their family? Can Brian find a way to reverse it?

Involving the occult, Trypophobia by A.G. Sullivan is a horrifying and suspenseful thriller. Cleverly written, it is a horror story that haunts dreams and causes nightmares. The gripping plot and spine-chilling storyline keep the reader on the edge of their seat until its harrowing conclusion. From the ants' entrance to the crossroads of Hell, it is impossible to put the book down. The author created an outstanding novel that rivals and outshines a Stephen King novel. Readers who love supernatural stories filled with dark magic and inspired ghostly terrors will not want to miss this! Due to the explicit language, intimate scenes, and violent content of the story, the book is more suitable for mature readers.

Lexie Fox

Trypophobia is the new horror novel from A.G. Sullivan, playing on the very real and sinister phobia of tiny holes. Mixing the irrational nature of a phobia like this with very physical and real horror elements is a masterful horror technique that blurs the line for readers between the unreasonable fears and the reasonable ones. Starting with the onset of Ben Brennan’s mental decline, author A.G. Sullivan wastes no time in sending Ben’s father, Brian, down a hole of his own as he learns a deadly secret from his own father’s past that may have been the beginning of a curse that threatens Ben’s life.

Brian’s journey of trying to save his son is powerfully told in this heart in your mouth story in which the macabre and sinister could come from any direction. Readers share the heartbreak of watching Ben’s decline from a normal happy child to one with the hallmarks of a future serial killer. In doing so, Trypophobia manages to create a perfect storm of motivations for an ordinary father to start doing extraordinary things. A.G. Sullivan teases out every strand of sympathy a reader may have for Brian, creating an investment in his quest to save his son that will positively glue you to the pages. The result is that Brian goes deeper and deeper into his personal hell, and we find ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with him. Rooting for his success no matter what, each wound inflicted upon Brian is shared with the readership and those moments of triumph he enjoys - no matter how rare or brief – are ones we feel deeply too.

Delene Vrey

Trypophobia by A.G. Sullivan is a horror story in which Brian Brennan, a divorced father, is faced with his son's fears. He battles Ben's mysterious fear of tiny holes – trypophobia – that has overcome his 11-year-old son, consuming Ben's life and radically changing his behavior. This leads to Brian being put on leave at work and urged to seek psychological help for himself. The sessions with Dr. Susan Lew uncover memories of Brian's own fears. After his father's death, he finds a lead to his household's mental health problems. Brian ends up forgiving his deceased father and understanding his brother's choices, forever grateful.

A.G. Sullivan has written a mind-boggling horror tale filled with a bit of voodoo and the supernatural. Brian is a great father who puts his children's needs and mental health before his own. He would do anything for Ben, even sell his soul. Brian is a loving character that wants his family to be safe. The fear of tiny holes is described very vividly. The novel is not for the faint of heart, especially when scenes of animal cruelty instill fear. The themes touched on in this novel are those of ADHD, medication, and abuse of people, children, and animals, as well as superstition and the lack of communication in families. Trypophobia is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps on taking unsuspected turns with every chapter. It delves into different types of fear and touches a bit on religion with voodoo and crossroads. The novel contains explicit language, sexual situations, and graphic violence.

Tammy Ruggles

Trypophobia by A.G. Sullivan is a fresh take on psychological horror. Brian Brennan is a single father trying to raise his young son Ben, 11, and daughter Morgan, 13, while dating Rosa, but there are psychological, perhaps supernatural, forces at work, or is it just old-fashioned evil? This is where trypophobia comes in, which is a profound fear of tiny holes in a cluster. More people have this than you may realize, and symptoms show at around seven years of age. Brace yourself, because Ben is suffering from it too. The boy is fixated on the images of the holes, but his father doesn't understand why. Although Brian tries to get to the root of the problem, the phobia affects his family and career in profound ways, prompting him to seek the services of a psychologist. This sheds light on a terrible secret--one so terrible it may be the breaking point.

If you miss traditional horror, don't worry. Sullivan's novel proves it hasn't really gone anywhere. This author brings it back in full force, a pure horror novel filled with suspense and the supernatural, meant for an adult audience. The chapter titles alone are enough to intrigue you, and once you dive in, you will be rewarded with relationships, mystery, angst, horror, and at times, heartbreak. This author has a natural talent for storytelling and building characters you can believe and care about. If you put yourself in Brennan's shoes, you too will wonder what you would do to help your son, and feel as helpless and worried as he does. I like the immediacy of the narrative--you are immersed in dad Brian's life from the first paragraph. Although everything unfolds at a good pace, Sullivan doesn't rush things. He sets up the background with setting, character development, and everyday events. The opening scene reminds me of dad Jack Torrance from The Shining during his interview, and mom Chris MacNeil from The Exorcist when she seeks help from professionals--characters dealing with a child who has a problem. I would put Brian Brennan right alongside them.

I loved the psychology of this story, how it plays into their pasts, the supernatural spell elements, and the way Sullivan doesn't reveal everything at once. Normally stories that skip around in time throw me off a little, but in this story, it works perfectly and is done well, adding to the suspense and pacing. For a dive into a contemporary horror novel with a classic supernatural feel, treat yourself to Trypophobia by A.G. Sullivan.

Rabia Tanveer

Trypophobia: A Novel by A.G. Sullivan is the kind of horror fiction that will chill you to the bone. The story follows Brian Brennan’s son Ben who develops trypophobia. Each night is terrible, and there doesn’t seem to be a cure for it. Before he knows it, things start to get worrisome for the Brennan family. It seems like Ben is a completely different child, and there is no end to the family’s misery. However, things take a terrifying turn when Ben first kills his sister’s pet and then his grandfather dies of COPD. That also happens to be the turning point in finding the “cure” for Ben. Brian discovers that his father committed a crime that might never be forgiven. Is his family cursed by the sins of his father or is Brian overreaching for a cure that doesn’t exist. But if it really is a curse, can Brian reverse it before it is too late to save Ben.

I usually stay away from horror fiction, but sometimes novels like Trypophobia come along, and I just have to read it. Author A.G. Sullivan strikes the perfect balance between horror and suspense while adding a nice dose of action to the mix. Brian's character drives the story forward while it is Ben who adds to the plot. The father and son duo are scarily similar in their approach, yet very different at the same time. The scene with the ants was horrifying, and so was the scene where Brian was burying his father. The dialogues were chilling, dark, and very sinister. It was like Sinister but so much better (infinitely better!). It is definitely a novel for a mature audience who can stand the jump scares with a beating heart. I was immersed from the very beginning and gasped out loud at all the right moments. I will not be surprised if this terrifyingly good novel becomes a movie very soon!

Vincent Dublado

An irrational fear of holes becomes the source of horror in A.G. Sullivan's Trypophobia. Young Ben Brennan is the unfortunate trypophobic in this tale, and his father, Brian, will bear the brunt of his anxiety disorder. It begins when Brian is awakened one night to find Ben covered in ants. It may seem like an isolated incident, but it becomes symptomatic of larger concerns and horrors for Brian. As Ben suffers from terrifying images of small holes, it becomes so unbearable for him that his mental and emotional condition worsens, and it takes its toll on the family household. Brian gets fired from his job for spending too much time tending to Ben. Upon his father’s death, Brian sets out to bury him and discovers more about his father including a dark past that is related to what is happening to their family right now.

Trypophobia sets the bar for the horror genre as it is deeply disturbing. What A.G. Sullivan does with the novel, and it works so well, is that he doesn’t appear to try hard to scare us. It’s all in the mind for him. He plays with your mental faculties in such a way that it triggers your distress. His narrative has the right combination of tones to pull it off: from the mental image of Ben covered in ants to dialogues that reveal looming horrors; it has a well-calibrated exposition of what is particularly nightmarish. The torch has been passed. Sullivan continues the tradition of literary scares that the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz have started. This is a brilliant tale of dark terror that will keep you awake at night.