Use the code TAKE5 for $5 off your first package!

Side by Side Book Reviews: A PLACE FOR SINNERS by Aaron Dries



Buy this edition at



Sometimes, in the genre of horror, a reviewer stumbles upon a dark, glistening vein in the granite of horror. Maybe the reviewer reads a book from a specific indie press and enjoys it so much, they find themselves reading other books they have to offer. Or maybe the reviewer finds an author and they run in a circle of like-minded authors who do collaborative work—so the reviewer finds not just one new favorite author, but several! I found Aaron Dries in one of the aforementioned dark veins in the granite. Being the excitable and curious reader that I am, I bought myself some of his books. A Place for Sinners entices you with an intriguing premise; boiled down it amounts to the simplest of tropes: A traveling experience to the jungles of Thailand goes terribly wrong.

But what I thought I was signing up for is not at all what I experienced. No, my friends…this novel is so much more than I bargained for.

The reader is invited to go on a journey with the main protagonist, Amity Collins. It is Amity we first read about when she’s only seven years old, and it is Amity the reader will feel most at home and at ease with. Several other characters will travel in and out of the narrative, bringing with them their own, unique POV, but the reader won’t desire to live there. It was refreshing to me to discover that the author knows that.

Aaron Dries gave me a home base, a safe place in Amity Collins. This is important because there are characters in this book that are unsafe. Dangerous. Horribly, horribly disturbing people. I was struck multiple times, almost like a slap in the face, with Dries’ unflinching prose. There is one line that is so messed up at its core, and delivered with such casual elegance, that I almost missed it until it started glowing in my brain like a neon sign and I was forced to go back and read the line again. I would gasp out loud, “What?” My eyes would dart back and forth, reading that one line over and over—trying to wrap my mind around it—but such evil utterances don’t give more details or explanations. They just are what they are and they stick in your side like a thorn. As I went deeper and deeper into this book, I became a collector of these painful thorns.

What begins as a cathartic adventure to Thailand for Amity and her brother Caleb comes apart at the seams, ultimately ripping open into sheer madness. I’m not exaggerating when I express to you that A Place for Sinners is one thousand different ways to be scared. Everything from wild animals to insects and sociopathic serial killers to isolation. Aaron’s wheelhouse is submerging his reader into the atmosphere of his novel—in this case, a suffocating jungle setting—while simultaneously preying on your worst psychological fears. Needless to say, I was anxious and unhinged emotionally the entire time I read this book.

My only real criticism is that some of the action sequences were disorienting. A few times there were two POVs in dueling streams of consciousness and it was difficult for me to find my footing and understand what I was reading. I longed for a reliable narrator to swoop in and give me a logical telling of what was happening. But again, that speaks to the full submersion the reader experiences—almost drowning in the dark prose and chaos.

It’s my recommendation that if you are a seasoned horror reader looking for something unusual that will knock you on your ass, this is the book for you. I promise that you haven’t read anything like this story, ever.
@mother.horror originally published at Cemetery Dance



I think I'm the last person in our book group to write my review. I fell behind with my reviews, and now I'm finding it hard to get back into the swing of things. But I loved this book, and the 4 of us who buddy read it had a great time discussing it together, so I need to review it.

A PLACE FOR SINNERS is about a brother and sister who live with their mother in Australia, and decide to take a much needed vacation to Thailand. The main protagonist, Amity, is deaf but doesn't let that stop her from doing what she wants. Her brother Caleb is protective of her, ever since the incident when she was a child that left her without her hearing. The two end up on a boat tour to a remote island where they are promised a fun time with the animals that live in the jungle there. However, the tour group doesn't know that they are in for nothing but violence and misery.

This book is definitely not for everyone. I'm not sure exactly which subgenre this one would fall under, but it's pretty hardcore, and not for the casual horror reader. I really enjoyed it, even though I found myself making grossed out exclamations quite often. I think there was also a fair amount of me asking what the hell was going on too. Not in the sense that I couldn't understand what was happening, but more like I couldn't believe that Dries went there. Some of the things that occur in this book are so gruesome, I can't imagine how Dries came up with it. But those crazy, gory, outrageous things are what we as a buddy reading group had the most fun talking about. Beware though, Dries is definitely not for the faint of heart. If serious gore and violence are what you are looking for, definitely look no further. For fans of hardcore horror, this book is a must-read.
5 stars @gowsy33



With A Place for Sinners, Aaron Dries has crafted an exceptionally well written novel that defies being placed into a horror sub-genre. There are a lot of elements of horror on display here, and instead of becoming a dumpster fire, Dries manages to craft a masterpiece.

A Place for Sinners follows Amity and Caleb, two siblings who decide to break the chains holding them back in their Australian hometown. What better way to to do this than go to Thailand. An awesome adventure turns into the vacation from hell. The writing in this book is phenomenal. Dries has written a book that is equal parts beautiful, atmospheric, brutal, and disgusting. This book starts of simple enough, but the further in the book you go, the more complex it gets. Dries writes with a voice that weaves together all of these elements to the story, different sub-genres within horror, and multiple plot threads in such an immaculate fashion that he makes it look easy, yet a lesser writer could have easily botched this. There are plenty of gross out moments here, more gore than you could ask for, and savagely violent scenes that will leave your jaw hanging. After reading this novel, I’m not sure that I want to travel to other countries ever again.

Another slam-dunk for Dries are the characters. All of the characters in this book are well developed. They have layers upon layers of depth and feel like real people, whether you love them or hate them. The characters here have real flaws and deal with emotions the way you’d expect people to. Susan Sycamore may be one of the most terrifying characters I’ve read in a long time.

What Aaron Dries has done with A Place for Sinners is written a masterpiece. This book has some of the best written prose I’ve ever seen in the genre. There are times when the story gets complex, and instead of losing the story Dries weaves an intricate tapestry of horror excellence. A Place for Sinners has made Dries a must buy author for me.

5/5 Stars @SteelRainReviews


Original Samhain Cover


If you follow me on Instagram you have seen me raving about A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries, and this blog post is going to be no different. I had a whole
Autumn color-themed post ready to go, but then I finished this book. And I need to SHOUT ABOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS. So I’m saving that fall-themed post for next week, and here we are. You guys, this book. You need it. It’s so refreshing to read such a unique horror. I was nervous, squeamish, crawling out of my skin, and scared. The characters are deep and relatable. The only bad thing I can say about this book is that it ended. I met Aaron Dries a few months ago and he is such a magnetic, hilarious and all-around swell guy. It makes books so much better when you find out that their author is a wonderful human. Everyone read it ASAP! Kallie @pageandparlorbooks


Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published