Book Review: Grim by Joseph Spencer

  • Review: Grim
  • Series: Sons of Darkness
  • Author: Joseph Spencer
  • Release Date: Published September 1st 2012 by Damnation Books
  • Rating: 5/5


When everything is taken from him, Detective Adam White must choose what’s most important. Does he stick to the heroic ideals which made him a famed paragon of justice and take down a murderous madman? Or does he give in to his vigilante impulses, avenge his wife’s murder, and become the type of killer he’s hunted for so many years?


Adam heard a few sounds of Velcro peeling off its straps. Suddenly, Black Mask shed the mystery and ambiguity of his headgear. He became another mystery altogether. What happened to this guy? He looked like he’d seen Hell, escaped, and doctored his face to give everyone else on Earth a preview.

Black Mask obviously suffered from rosacea because his skin was inflamed, swollen, and the angriest shade of red Adam had ever seen. A jagged circular scar similar to a clock face ran from Black Mask’s forehead down his cheeks to his chin. A vertical scar ran straight down the middle of his forehead and along the bridge of his nose. Two horizontal scars extended from the side of his nose and curved upward to his temples. Two additional scars extended outward at angles from just under his nose, across his lips and ended on either side of his chin. All of the scars connected like spokes to the inside of the circular scar in a design resembling a starfish. He also had a solid black teardrop falling from the corner of his left eye. Adam struggled not to have any reaction, but failed to keep the corner of his mouth from inching up into a grimace.

Black Mask smirked and put his right hand up to his face. He pretended to be admiring himself in a mirror. “It’s okay, Detective. Your reaction is fairly common and a lot more subdued than most. Of course, I bet you’ve seen a lot of horrors in your line of work.

“So, you want to know the tale of Heath Grim, huh?

My thoughts:

I finished this book and then went and immediately looked up Joseph Spencer. I am now a huge fan!! I mean, I had doubts about reading this, not because he’s a debut author and this is his first book, not because the face on the book kind of threw me off (although I totally love it after reading!) but because I’m not into the whole mystery/crime genre. It’s just not my thing. But this book, oh man! This book was fantastic!

There’s a lot of back and forth between the main characters so you get to see what everyone is thinking. This threw me off at first. Joseph Spencer has quite a few characters, but as I started to get to know them I was entranced. It also amazed me how visceral this was. I mean!! There is blood and guts everywhere!! And I do mean everywhere. But I really was taken aback by how this started. It’s raw, in your face, intense, so even while you’re trying to get to know everyone you’re still totally sucked in.

The characters are captivating. You can’t tell who is the villain and believe me there are multiple, but who is THE villain exactly?! At around 80% of the book I knew but I also knew that I was cheering for one of them. And isn’t that great? When an author can make you cheer for a villain?

So, Adam is amazing. He’s the White Knight of the city. Really reminded me of Harvey from Batman. This guy can do no wrong but in his mind it’s a lot to deal with. He’s such an in depth guy and yes he does have issues of his own, of which he’s trying desperately to work through. It’s his commitment to find his wife’s murderer that keeps him motivated. And the really cool thing, he’s so calm and collected that nobody sees how much he’s going through!

And then you have Heath. Wow… This character is intense. His story is amazing to read. There’s so much about him and as you get to know him you want him to win even though you’re not sure what side he’s on. But whatever side he’s on, I wanted to be on it! He has an interesting life but mainly because of the scars on his face and learning about those scars was another level to the book. Getting to know the real Heath behind the mask was the best part! The story behind him all has to do with Egyptian Mythology. I love how much is in here! There’s so much about Gods, Angels and Demons that again, I was entranced and I know my mythology. But there is stuff in here that I’ve never heard of before. And it was all enter-twined so well that it didn’t drag the book down at all. It brought another dimension to it that again was exciting and needed!

This guy can write!! I’m a huge fan now. Mysteries, I’m still iffy on, but this guy? Yeah, I can’t wait for book two to come out! But now I”ll read anything that Joseph Spencer writes!

Although this sort of reminded me of a comic book hero type of book, it was fabulous. Like horror and some blood and guts? This is definitely your thing!

About the author:


Joseph Spencer is the author of the Sons of Darkness series launched by his debut novel, Grim, on September 1, 2012. Work on his second book of the series, Wrage, is already underway and is expected to be released some time in 2013.


The Sons of Darkness is a series of paranormal crime thrillers following investigations into mysterious deaths in the central Illinois city of Prairieville. Home of the notorious serial killer, The Reaper, Prairieville has had a history of violence centered on an ongoing feud between the Marino and Black organized crime families. When bodies start showing up again at the abandoned Marino State Hospital, many fear the Reaper has returned. The people of Prairieville are about to find out their problems stem from a supernatural source which has lurked in secret for decades.


As a boy, Joseph Spencer immersed himself in the deductive logic of Sherlock Holmes, the heroic crime fighting of Batman and Spider-Man, and a taste for the tragic with dramas from poets like Shakespeare and Homer.

Before Joseph took to spinning his own tales, he pursued a career in print sports journalism, graduating with honors from Clinton (IL) High School in 1996 and summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2000. He covered such events as NASCAR’s Subway 500 race in Martinsville, the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago, the Junior College World Series, and Minor League Baseball’s Midwest League All-Star Game during a ten-year career throughout the Midwest. Now, he works as an emergency telecommunications specialist with an Illinois police department. The combination of years of writing experience with a background working with law enforcement professionals gave rise to his writing aspirations.

Joseph was married Dr. Amy (Waggoner) Spencer, an accomplished veterinary doctor, on March 14, 2012. He received word his debut novel was accepted by his publisher, Damnation Books, the next day. Joseph and Amy look forward to their honeymoon in Paris in September 2012. Murphy, a 15-year-old orange tabby, is perhaps the most vocal member of the family. The Spencer family enjoys reading Charlaine Harris, George R.R. Martin, Mary Janice Davidson, and most paranormal stories. The Spencers also enjoy quoting movie lines from The Princess Bride, Rain Man, Bridesmaids, and Office Space.

Website | Twitter: josephspencer00 | Facebook |

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  1. Wow, I am so thankful for your review and so grateful that you enjoyed the story. As a writer, you’re never quite sure what reaction your work will get. I am just starting out on this road, so thanks for your praise and encouragement. It means a lot to me!

    1. Seriously! I love the way you write! I did hesitate to read this but I am SO glad that I did. I am a huge fan of gory, interesting reads though and the mystery of this adds so much! I’m definitely telling everyone about this one.

      When can I read your next? 😉

      Now you have a stalker fan on your hands!! LOL

      1. I am anticipating that Wrage, book 2 of the Sons of Darkness, will be out this fall. I don’t have the exact release date yet.

      2. Ohhh! That means I’ll be able to read this again before it comes out!

        If you need reviewers… 😉 I’m totally available! No, seriously, I can’t wait!

  2. Wow, what a fantastic review! I’ve never heard of this book, but it sounds great.

    1. It is!!! It’s one of those books where you look up and realize that you’re not actually a character IN the book! LOL Which honestly, for this one is probably a good thing. I like my blood to stay inside of my skin!

  3. I will definitely hit you up for a review of Wrage. Thanks again. Your review really lifted my spirits.

    1. Awww, yay!! That’s what I’m here for. Promoting authors makes my day!

  4. It sounds fun if I’m understanding the comic book reference properly. Any way you look at it, I’m in.

    1. As you should be! This is amazing! 😀

  5. […] Grim by Joseph Spencer (Book Review) […]

  6. […] Book Review: Grim by Joseph Spencer […]

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