Unsettling Thoughts

Fiction - Horror
252 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

In the horror novel Unsettling Thoughts by Erik Dean, Tina's life takes a dark turn after purchasing an antique chair. Initially, her concerns center on conceiving and exhaustion, but soon she experiences strange occurrences and sleepwalking, leading her to question her sanity. Tina's suspicions about her husband's fidelity grow, and inexplicable items, like a knife in her purse, add to mounting distress and confusion. Despite normal test results, her mental state deteriorates. As flames and murder raise alarms, Tina’s behavior becomes erratic, influenced by disturbing dreams. Tina's friend Wanda, suspecting the influence of the supernatural possession of an object, resolves to destroy it—and whoever, or whatever controls it—and save Tina from its manipulation. But time is running out, an evil force is quickly closing in, and the word “escape” means two entirely different things, depending on who you ask.

"Have a seat, let me see how it fits ...That old chair looks like it was made for you." The slow buildup of Unsettling Thoughts by Erik Dean is what makes its heated climax so satisfying. I've lived in London for over a decade and there's a reason I don't do ghost tours. Having Tina and her friends descend on a historically rich excursion serves to kick off the supernatural elements with its history of fires, lawlessness, and buildings constructed on slag mixed with human remains. And an antique furniture purchase. In the background, we have this deliciously terrible story of another family that comes full circle when Wanda ventures into a mental institution and things start to connect. This can only be attributed to Dean's skill at methodically taking loose ends and spinning them into something bigger. The ending is not at all what I expected but the subversion of expectation is spectacular, and, overall, this is a wonderful read. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Unsettling Thoughts is a work of fiction penned by author Erik Dean in the horror, thriller, and mystery genres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. The plot begins with Tina's innocent shopping trip with friends, which takes a sinister turn after a ghost tour adds an unsettling layer to their adventure. Tina's purchase of a reading chair unlocks a Pandora's Box-like explosion of twists and turns, leading to disturbing changes in her behavior and terrifying occurrences. As a murderer terrorizes the town, suspicions arise about the chair's connection to a malevolent entity from the ghost tour. Tina's friend Wanda investigates to unravel the chair's horrifying history and save Tina from her descent into darkness.

Author Erik Dean has a real gift for suspense, and has crafted a gripping and chilling horror story that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I was impressed with the confidence and control in the narrative flow, which expertly plays out an unreliable and unpredictable journey as Tina slowly loses control. There is a palpable sense of fear in every moment, whether it’s the well-described scenes of strange goings-on and shocking revelations, or the quieter, slow-burning moments of tension as the mystery of the plot comes together more and more. As I followed Tina's descent into terror and Wanda's determined investigation, I was captivated by the eerie atmosphere and spine-tingling tension that Dean created with brilliant wording. The dual endings offered by the author added an extra layer of intrigue, leaving me eager to explore both outcomes and discover the truth behind the haunting events. Overall, Unsettling Thoughts is a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers and supernatural mysteries, delivering a rollercoaster of suspense and excitement until the very end.

Alma Boucher

The terror in Erik Dean's Unsettling Thoughts started when Tina and her friends went on an antique shopping trip to the town of Jerome. Tina discovered a reading chair with a flowery design and an ottoman that went with it, but the upholstery was worn out with a red stain on the white underside of the chair. Tina loved curling up on the chair with a book, but her personality had started to change significantly since her return from the trip. Tina's pleasant demeanor gave way to irritation, rage, and irrational jealousy. She was sleepwalking, and experiencing intense nightmares, blackouts, and unsettling premonitions. Wanda, Tina's friend, started to suspect that something evil from their recent trip was tied to the chair, and was trying to control Tina. She was adamant about learning more about the chair's past to save Tina.

Erik Dean's Unsettling Thoughts is a page-turner that held my attention from beginning to end. I was kept on the edge of my seat because of the compelling plot, which created a constant sense of dread and uncertainty. I was guessing till the very end because I had no idea what would happen next. The group of friends was like a family, and I could relate to them. Wanda was the only one of Tina's friends who was willing to find the reason for her friend's personality change, and what she found was horrifying. The story was masterfully crafted, and I was taken aback by the shocking ending. Readers who like horror stories with a paranormal edge should read this book.

Christian Sia

Unsettling Thoughts by Erik Dean is a gripping and chilling tale that presents the sinister depths of the supernatural. Set against a seemingly innocent antique shopping trip, the narrative turns spine-tingling as Tina and her friends unwittingly unleash an evil force that threatens to consume them. The story begins innocuously enough, with Tina and her friends embarking on their annual tradition of scouring small towns for vintage treasures. However, when a ghost tour is added to their itinerary, the atmosphere becomes charged with an eerie sense of foreboding. This unease only intensifies when Tina purchases a coveted reading chair, unwittingly unlocking a Pandora's box of terror. As Tina's cheerful demeanor darkens and she becomes plagued by nightmares, premonitions, and inexplicable behavior, the narrative blurs the lines between supernatural horror and psychological thriller. Is Tina truly being haunted by a malevolent spirit, or are her loved ones gaslighting her?

Erik Dean’s novel has everything readers look for in horror — a strong sense of unpredictability, a pervading sense of fear in the characters, and growing uncertainty as the plot progresses. The storytelling is impeccable, and the author’s gift for creating fully fleshed-out and relatable characters shines through the pages. Tina’s experiences are unnerving, and her friend, Wanda, sets out to uncover the mystery behind the sinister influence of the chair. This dual narrative approach creates suspense and intrigue, and readers keep turning the pages, eager to discover what happens next. Unsettling Thoughts perfectly explores the intersection between the supernatural and the mundane. Against the backdrop of an arsonist and murderer terrorizing the town, Tina and her friends must confront the horrifying reality that something far more sinister may be lurking in their midst. You will feel chills as you follow these characters, and you cannot predict what will happen next.

Pikasho Deka

Unsettling Thoughts is a thrilling horror novel by Erik Dean. Tina, Wanda, Ellie, and Kelly are best friends who return home to Phoenix, Arizona, from a girls' trip to the town of Jerome with antique souvenirs. These include an ancient chair bought by Tina that the others do not like. However, soon after their arrival, Tina slowly starts displaying increasingly disturbing behavior, much to her husband Travis's anxiety. Plagued by jealous fits of rage, Tina also has vivid nightmares when she is not sleepwalking at night. Meanwhile, a shocking series of murders and arson incidents hit the town. Wanda begins to realize that something is deeply wrong with Tina. However, the entity possessing Tina requires seven more souls to be free, putting everyone's lives in grave danger. Will Wanda be able to rescue Tina and her friends?

Steeped in a potent brew of suspense, mystery, and horror, Unsettling Thoughts offers thrills and chills galore. Erik Dean's gripping narrative never lets you take a breather as you find yourself glued to the pages, wondering what's happening next with each passing chapter. The plot is very well-paced, featuring a couple of shocking curveballs that pull the rug out from under your feet. While reading, you get a sense of tension and dread as only the best horror stories can make you feel. The characters have layers to their personalities, making the dynamic between Tina and her friends all the more fascinating. The author has written three separate endings. I prefer the third one. Fans of paranormal horror are in for a treat with Unsettling Thoughts!