Read Doll Face by Tim Curran Online


Six friends are returning home from a night out when they end up in a town called Stokes. They discover they are trapped there, as Stokes does not really exist. The actual town had burned to the ground more than fifty years ago. The Stokes they are in is a nightmare version of the former town, engineered by a deranged and undead mind, a supernatural machine of wrath that wSix friends are returning home from a night out when they end up in a town called Stokes. They discover they are trapped there, as Stokes does not really exist. The actual town had burned to the ground more than fifty years ago. The Stokes they are in is a nightmare version of the former town, engineered by a deranged and undead mind, a supernatural machine of wrath that will destroy them one by one....unless they submit to its dominance and become living dolls....

Title : Doll Face
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781940544670
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 161 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Doll Face Reviews

  • Char
    2019-06-16 02:29

    This was a wildly imaginative book. I'm not going to get into the setup since the synopsis already does that. Instead I'm just going to state how this book made me feel.This book is INSANE! I don't even know where to begin. An old town that doesn't exist now does. Things that don't exist, now do. A few of them? Frankendoll. Spider Mother. The Puppeteer. The Controller. Yeah, think about what those look like. Go ahead, I'll wait.From the unsettling mind of Tim Curran comes this crazy tale of the town of Stokes, which to most, no longer exists. The occupants of which are mostly animated dolls and mannequins. But there's something much worse in Stokes and this group of 6 friends are soon going to find out who orwhatthat is.I found this story to be slightly repetitive in the middle portion, but not enough for me to start skimming. (Mostly because I was worried that I would miss something incredibly creative and cool. ) Also, I felt that I didn't get to know a few of the characters as well as I would have liked. Those are the only two complaints I have and they're both minor.Overall, I thought this book was crazy good. Tim Curran is one imaginative son of a bitch- I don't know how the man sleeps at night. I recommend this book to fans of creepy dolls, wild imaginations and nightmares. This book delivers all that, and it delivers it in spades.*If you like Tim Curran as much as I do, please tune in to HAD at the beginning of March for my interview with the man!* -Char*I received this book free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. This is it.*

  • RedemptionDenied
    2019-06-08 07:24

    Fuck. This book was creepy as hell. Six friends end up in Stokes, a town that doesn't exist anymore, as it burned to the ground 50 years earlier. As they enter the town, they believe they have run over someone or something and stop to investigate - and from that point onwards everything spirals into complete madness..The Doll's in this book reminded me of the nurses in Silent Hill, probably because of the way they moved, or something? Not sure. Anyway, I liked it.

  • Paul Nelson
    2019-06-26 00:39

    'They were in danger. Incredible danger. He could feel it moving around them in the darkness like the cold coils of a snake. It was circling them, pressing in ever closer, grinning with long white teeth and watching them with hungry, ebon eyes.' Doll Face is another top notch horror from the warped mind of Tim Curran. This is definitely not a slow moving psychological horror that has you sitting on the edge of the seat as it builds the tension, Doll Face pretty much throws the horror at you almost immediately and never really takes its foot off the gas. So we have a group of college kids, as you would expect perfect fuel for a disturbing horror filled fire that just won't stop burning. A turning of the highway brings them into the town of Stokes, Chazz, drunk and insisting this short-cut would save them 20 minutes, will of course rue the day he took that turning, if he stays alive. First glance a normal town, nothing out of the ordinary until BANG followed by a double thump as he hits someone crossing the road and runs right over him. Arguments ensue, stay or run, the usual, until they see what it is they hit and then it moves, a siren sounds and reality as they know it is about to shift beyond belief. You don't just leave Stokes, there's something there that will do its utmost to keep you from ever leaving and it will take your mind, your body and things you could never possibly imagine. As the kids split and with no apparent way out, we rapidly bounce from one to the other as the horrors they envisage come true, their worst fears laid out before them, changing, relentless and its bloody intense. The story explores the depth of some of the characters and the history of Stokes as it barrels through each disturbing outcome, there's the familiar horror filled sexual liaison and some gruesome fatalities. My only issue was that the pinnacle of intensity was attained early on and never really relented, which is not a bad thing, it breeds a fast and entertaining read that keeps your attention but as a result comes dangerously close to repetition. 'It felt like Chazz’s skin was crawling with thousands of tiny insects that were skittering over his arms and up his legs, down his spine and over the nape of his neck. The sensation was so very real that he scratched at his skin until it hurt. But there were no bugs, there was only fear and it was making his skin prickle.' I gave Doll Face 4 stars, I enjoyed it, just not as much as some of his other stuff. I received Doll Face from Darkfuse & Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and that’s what you’ve got.Also posted at

  • Bark
    2019-05-28 04:33

    I requested this book from Netgalley and I am sad to say that I am going to have to DNF at the halfway mark. It may get better but it may not. All I know for certain is that I am just not having a good time with the story and I’m calling it done and moving on. You readers who revile the DNF review may want to click away now because that’s what you’re about to get here.The intoxicated driver of a car filled with twenty somethings decides to take a shortcut home. You just know this won’t end well. And it doesn’t. They end up stranded in a town that no longer exists on any map and is inhabited by some very strange animated doll parts.Sounds good to me and my hopes were high. I loved Curran’s book Blackout. But after a great beginning featuring some extremely well written creepy atmosphere, a diner straight out of hell, and several creatures that will haunt my dreams, it just sort of got stuck in a rut and lost me. I had trouble keeping track of the characters who decided to split up early and investigate and pretty much get what’s coming to them for being such curious creatures. I didn’t get to know any of them well enough to like or dislike them and never felt the tension that comes when a character you love or despise has to face unimaginable horror. And thus I stalled and this is where I part ways with Doll Face. Sorry guys.

  • Kimberly
    2019-06-12 05:37

    Curran has a knack for uncovering our basest fears and exploiting them in the most horrific manor possible. in his latest release from DarkFuse, he takes us on a journey with six college students, who are somehow "drawn into" and stranded in the town of Stokes. Through a pone call that Ramona, the most "mentally together" of the group is able to get through to 911, we learn that there is no longer a town of Stokes--it had burned down completely sometime in the 60's...Besieged by a parody of human puppets/marionettes/creatures created by an enigmatic "Controller", the group quickly finds themselves at the mercy of these hybrids, and something...else...that is able to use their innermost fears and flaws against them in order to break them down.The atmosphere in this novel is one of Curran's biggest strengths, in my opinion. The town--and the changes it manifests--are so detailed that I could actually feel myself witnessing these horrors first hand. Another strong point was his characterization. While not all the characters felt "fully" developed, the main ones certainly did. By the end of the tale, I felt that I "knew" each of them, and was very impressed at the mental growth certain key players exhibited.Just when I felt it was over, Curran threw in a last line that actually sent a shiver up my spine...Highly recommended!!*I received an advance copy of this novel through NetGalley/DarkFuse in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Kaisersoze
    2019-06-10 02:22

    Does anybody beyond the age of four, and in their right mind, even like dolls? What about mannequins? Isn't everybody whose name is not Andrew McCarthy at least a little creeped out by them? I know I am. Just this Christmas gone, my partner and I were discussing how unsettling the doll our 18 month old daughter received from an extended family member was. "It's kind of ... life like," my partner said."I know. And it's eyes seem to follow you wherever you go," I replied.Even our daughter seemed uneasy with it. After walking around with it for a full 30 seconds, she put the doll at the bottom of her plastic trolley and immediately piled in half a dozen toys on top of it. And there it has stayed. It's on these fears that Tim Curran plays with his newest novel, Doll Face. A group of friends take an ill-advised short-cut and wind-up in a town that does not feature on any maps. Within minutes they find themselves fleeing for their lives, chased by a number of animated mannequins that demonstrate intelligent thought, and can sometimes even talk. From there, its all about survival and attempting to determine what is going on, but the stakes are high, and this is a Tim Curran book, so you can be certain not everyone is going to make it home - be it in one or many pieces...Doll Face starts strong. It's at its best in the opening few chapters as the protagonists are confronted by the horrors of the town they find themselves in. There are some incredibly creepy chapters through the first act of the novel, and on several occasions I found myself tensing my shoulders and grimacing at what the characters were being put through. Curran's imagination is his most potent weapon and he again draws from its incredible depths to produce some truly nightmarish scenes.But the pace does falter, and falter significantly, through the novel's middle stages. The characters eventually get separated so there is very little dialogue through a long sequence of chapters - just description after description of what latest horror is confronting the POV character at that time. And truth be told, it got wearisome simply because there was not enough variation.Thankfully, for this reader at least, Curran rights the ship and puts things back on track for the final scenes as the full extent of what is happening is revealed and the surviving characters do their best to fight free.Overall then, fans of Tim Curran are likely to love it; while those who have are new to his work might be better directed to start with something shorter he has written. Mention should also be made that while Doll Face is mainly about mannequins and their derivatives, it also features spiders. So many spiders. Spiders metaphorically, spiders (semi-)literally, references to things moving like spiders, spiders spiders spiders. So don't read this if you're arachnophobic. You will shit your pants. 4 Spider-Like Creatures Doing Spider-esque Things in the Deepest Dark for Doll Face.The preceding review is based on an eARC provided by Dark Fuse Publishing through Netgalley.

  • Andi
    2019-06-13 06:45

    Review of Doll Face by Tim Curran "Is that you doll-face?"From the author of Puppet Graveyard, we are blessed with another puppety-nightmare of a story. While trying to take a short-cut on the way home from a concert, drunk Chazz and 5 of his friends end up stranded in Stokes after running down a man standing in the middle of the street. A call to 911 quickly becomes their first clue that vehicular manslaughter is the least of their problems, when the operator informs them that there is no town of Stokes. The entire town burned to the ground in the 1960's. However, the sign leading into town clearly said Stokes and unless they are all sharing the same hallucination, it's still standing. When the man that they hit not only stands up but starts putting himself back together, the weirdness in nonexistent Stokes is just getting started. Their van dies. The highway disappears. An air-raid alarm seems to be awakening something. And the town seems to be filled with animated and dangerous life-sized dolls. Something seems to be controlling the entire town. In a place where reality doesn't seem to have any bearing on what unfolds, they must figure out how to stop whatever is controlling Stokes before it controls them or drives them insane in the process. This is not my favorite Tim Curran book (Graveworm! Graveworm! Graveworm!) but it was far from disappointing. From the one person on this planet who truly knows how to make my skin crawl, Doll Face will feed any doll-phobia you either have or didn't know that you had prior to reading it. © 2015 by Andi Rawson of Andreya's Asylum

  • Ms. Nikki
    2019-05-26 05:28

    It's all in your mind. Stokes, the town, no longer exists due to a fire. Sound familiar? Yet six friends find themselves trapped there. Does being trapped in a town that doesn't exist, that was, burned to the ground, ring a bell? Okay, let's keep going. The group soon find themselves separated and they get their first glimpses at the parts a pieces of dolls and mannequins. They want you to be part of them. All you have to do is listen to them and everything will be okay. I'm not going to spoil the book for you. However, when you have little minion dolls, there is always a god-like leader with their own disillusioned reasons for the way things work. The Controller and other bosses in this read don't want to let anyone go. They want you to become a part of them. Literally.Gah! You still can't figure out what movie or game comes to mind? Does no one play video games? Fine, I'll give you the answer: Silent Hill. The last movie even had a mannequin spider type thing in it collecting human body parts. I'm not saying Mr. Curran got it from that movie, that's just where my imagination took me. If it's a shout-out to it: Awesome! I've always said that Mr. Curran is very talented and has major atmospheric and descriptor writing skills, I'm just waiting on the one that will blow me out of the park. This read started out in-your-face but once the dolls showed themselves so much, they, and the story had less of a horror impact. Doll Face settles nicely into the "that's a good one" category. Don't like dolls and want to be creeped out? I'd definitely try this one on for size.

  • Mike
    2019-05-31 06:41

    Doll Face is the thirteenth book by Tim Curran I have read. The story starts out with six friends (Ramona, Chazz, Lex, Soo-Lee, Creep and Danielle)driving home on a rainy night. Chazz driving (drunk) decides to take a short cut. With the rain and the Van skidding Chazz runs over this manlike shape with his arms raised. After the van comes to a stop, Chazz wants to take off but the Van won't start. They see that they are in a town but no lights are on. The body was broken up and looked like a homeless man. When checked the body felt like rubber or soft plastic. Ramona calls 911 and tells her they are in a town named Stokes. The operator says the town doesn't exist. They find out that the town burned down back in the 60's. Highways gone, road is a dead end. Now they are trapped in a town with these doll like things. A siren goes off, clicking sound, then this doll like thing stands up with no eyes and a grin on its face. Will stop here, this is when the story gets going. This book was well written and had that great creepy atmosphere to the story. It was like reading a episode of Twilight Zone or the Night Gallery. The only thing I didn't like was the length, it could of been shortened and been just as good. Tim sometimes in his stories gets a little too descriptive. I gave Doll Face 4 stars.I received an e-arc of this book from DarkFuse/NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Bill
    2019-06-16 07:39

    Another twisted tale, chock full of classic Curran characters and monsters and non-stop Curran prose. This one may even get too descriptive. Is that even possible? Maybe. I think this one could have used a bit of a haircut in the middle to even the pacing, but nonetheless, a very good and creepy read. Release the Frankendoll and let the games begin.(view spoiler)[ I think I would have lasted about 10 minutes in Stokes before I went nuts and was turned into a puppet monster. These characters certainly have some resolve. (Some more than others)(hide spoiler)]*As a member of the DarkFuse/NetGalley Readers Group, I received an advanced copy of this e-book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jon Recluse
    2019-06-03 23:26

    An imaginative fearfest that finds six friends playing a macabre game of manhunt through a night that may not end, in a town that doesn't exist, stalked by an unearthly force that can animate the inanimate and invade minds.Reminded me of the 70s cult horror film "Tourist Trap" on meth.Curran continues to be one of the most creatively creepy minds working in horror.This was an eARC from Netgalley.

  • Bob Milne
    2019-05-28 23:34

    Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. While I make every attempt to avoid spoilers, please be aware that an ARC synopsis, press release, or review request may disclose details that are not revealed in the published cover blurb.Well, I guess it was inevitable. After 4 fantastic reads in a row, each of which has both wowed and delighted me, I've stumbled against my first Tim Curran disappointment. As much as I was excited by the concept, and as much as I expected to enjoy it, Doll Face just fell completely flat for me.Things got off to a rough start almost immediately, with a cast of characters I neither liked enough to root for, nor hated enough to cheer on their deaths. To use that term again, they just fell flat for me. Now, to be fair, a few of them did have their moments, but not nearly enough to keep me reading.As for the story, it did start out strong. There was a great mystery to it, and a lot of serious WTF scenes that kept convincing me to read on, hoping it would get better and I'd find that connection. Little pieces absolutely delighted me, like the first appearance of the Spider Mother and the weird-as-hell confrontation in the empty (or is it?) diner full of rotting (or is it?) food and living (or are they?) doll diners, but it all got very repetitive, very monotonous, very soon. I never thought I'd use terms like 'tiresome' and 'boring' with Curran's work, but in this case they (sadly) fit.While I do believe a pair of extraordinarily effective 20-25 page short stories could be excised and rescued from the text, that's about all the concept can sustain for me. Taken as a whole, I'm afraid 246 pages is about 200 pages too much, and that's a shame, especially since I usually don't want his books to end.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  • Marvin
    2019-06-15 00:17

    For my money, Tim Curran is the best writer of horror actively typing up a storm. He has a devious mind that delights at scaring the pants off you yet a gift for language and characterization that tells you he is just not a shockmeister. Curran is what the early Stephen King was before he got detoured by little girls lost in the forest, hearts in Atlanta, and rabid Saint Bernards. For pure excitement and bad dreams, it does not get any better than Tim Curran.Doll Face is his newest offering of terror. While I still prefer Nightcrawlers for its Lovecraftian elements and Blackout for its superb alien invasion plot, Doll Face is still an unique shocker and a roller coaster ride that rarely lets up. The plot hinges around a van full of young people who take a shortcut to get home. That is never a good idea if you are in a horror novel or movie. The protagonists are a cross section of personalities some unlikeable other not so. The van hits someone in road so they get out to investigate while the driver, a real jerk by the way, tries to convince everyone to leave the scene. Yet "leaving the scene" becomes a moot point very quickly. That is where everything goes haywire as they call 911 and discover the town they are in does not exist. It doesn't help that the "person" they hit seems manufactured rather than flesh and blood.I will leave the rest for you to discover. There is very little down time in this tale. Everyone is running or fighting to survive and attempting to discover what is real and what is not. So it is a gift of the author that he is still able to instill a good amount of characterization in order to make you care, or not care at least in one instance. (Note to author: I hated Chazz.) Much of the characters' dilemma is in determining hallucinations from reality. I usually find that a hard thing to communicate in the written word but Curran has no problem. This is a viscerally descriptive work where smells, sights and sound are important to communicate well and Curran does that. Without giving away anything, I also loved the open ending which sent a few extra chills through my spine. Despite the high level of violence and gore, I would consider this a fairly mainstream novel that casual visitors to the horror genre should seek out too. This horror gem is a nice introduction to 2015's new crop of scares and keeps up the author's record for high quality terror. If it wasn't quite as good as Nightcrawlers or Blackout, it is still way above average nightmare material, Highly recommended as is anything by Tim Curran.Four and a half stars.

  • Kate
    2019-06-20 04:26

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Six twentysomethings are heading back from a concert when their driver, the drunken, obnoxious, Chazz, decides to take a shortcut and they find themselves in the town of Stokes. An unsettling incident sees them stranded in the town and unable to find their way out of it. This was a full on, non stop, crazy read, after the initial set up it didn't really let up for a minute bringing all kinds of puppet/doll nightmares into the mix. Tim Curran is a master at placing readers right into the action with vivid descriptions of horrifying scenes where you can see, smell and almost taste what is being described. His imagination seems to know no bounds and there were several scenes that were spectacularly unsettling and pushed a fair few buttons with me. Arachnophobes should approach this with caution, that's all I'm going to say. The characters were a bit of a mix for me. I liked Ramona the most, she was a strong character in a lot of ways but was believable as someone who still has insecurities and human frailties especially in her relationship with Chazz. Chazz was someone that I hated at the beginning, he was an aggressive bully who thought he should get his own way but as the read progressed the author explored his past and made him far more engaging and sympathetic than I thought he would be.One niggle I did have with the characters was that they latched onto the 'controller' idea a little too quickly, I didn't find this believable although it's impact on the story was minimal. I also think the read got a bit bogged down with all the different threads of each characters story after they get split up. This just made some of the scenes a bit repetitious, keeping the characters into small groups for story threads wouldn't have split my attention so much and kept the read a bit tighter.A couple of issues but none that really detracted from this wildly, over the top read.Recommended.

  • Frank Errington
    2019-06-04 06:38

    Review copyThe opening paragraph of Doll Face is masterful..."It wasn't until later that Ramoma realized how neatly it all fell together. Like pieces of a die-cut puzzle, everything simply fit into place in that purely seemless and smooth sort of way that fate managed when it wanted something to happen. Or it wanted people to suffer."Ramona, Creep, Soo-Lee, Lex, and Chazz are on their way home from a Green Day concert at the Garden when Chazz decides to take a shortcut. You know, if it weren't for shortcuts there would be way fewer horror stories in the world. This shortcut led them to the forgotten town of Stokes and the accident that trapped them in a nightmare.There was an increasing unease as I made my way through the first few chapters of Doll Face as Curran does an excellent job of building the terror. The author pushes all the right buttons to exude creepiness in this character study of a small group of diverse young people and how they handle this very strange and stressful situation that could end up costing them their lives.Doll Face has plenty of gore, the pace is non-stop with unrelenting horror which at times I found very disturbing, but this is horror and it's exactly what we signed up for as readers of this genre.In the world of music producers, Phil Specter created what became know as the "Wall of Sound." Here, Tim Curran has created a "Wall of Terror" including some of the most disturbing images I've ever read. A word of warning, Doll Face is NOT for the faint of heart.Doll Face is available now from Darkfuse and can be purchased through If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, you can read this work at no additional charge, and if your an Amazon Prime member you can make this your monthly FREE read through the Kindle Owners Lending Library.If you're ready for unrelenting horror. Get this book. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  • Chris
    2019-05-28 05:16

    I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.I have read quite a few books by Tim Curran that have been published by Darkfuse and elsewhere and, with the exception of Long Black Coffin, also published by Darkfuse, which I felt was perfectly done at novel length, I prefer his novellas. I think that is because of the types of stories that he writes. Intense, non stop action. Horrific imagery. I feel that these types of stories lend themselves to a shorter format because if stretched to novel length, what is horrifying in a tight novella, wears down the reader and dilutes the tension. I do agree with other reviewers who state that Mr. Curran gets repetitive. I will say that I have only found this to be the case in his novels (for example Hag Night). His novella Sow is probably the most horrific possession story I have ever read. Headhunter is another recent example of a really well done novella. I could name others. Practically all of his novellas actually.The plot has been outlined numerous times already so I won't get into detail other than to say that a really creepy idea for a story became diluted and repetitive in novel length, mainly because character development remained minimal and there is really nothing going on here other than nonstop action.

  • Francesca
    2019-06-24 05:21

    Actual rating 3.5.For the most part, I absolutely loved this book. The imagination that went into it was incredible, I loved the atmosphere, it was scary, it was creepy, and it was a hell of a lot of fun to read. However, there were a few things that I wasn't so keen on which is why my rating is at 3.5 instead of the 4 I probably would've given it. (view spoiler)[ I loved Soo-Lee and I really liked Lex but they were the only ones. Only liking two of the characters isn't really a problem but, as the story was split into the 6 points of view, when the story was focused on one of the other characters I found myself not really caring about what happened to them. Danielle wasn't in it long enough for me to know what my opinion on her was, although from the way other characters spoke about her it seemed like we were supposed to dislike her because she was a ditzy blonde but that actually made me find her quite endearing. She got killed off fairly quickly though and then we were left with the other five. Creep was one of the most hateable characters I've read about in a long time. I think we were supposed to hate him but because of how annoying and horrible he was it made it even more frustrating that he lasted as long as he did. Chazz could've been a much better character. If the backstory with his stepmother had been explored and developed more then he would've been an interesting character. As it was, he spent most of the book being a boring stereotype of the 'bully jock' with nothing else going for him and his backstory seemed like it was just thrown in at random to try and make him somewhat redeemable. Now onto Ramona, Ah Ramona! The girl that we were so blatantly supposed to root for, the one that was clearly the 'final girl', the one that was practically pushed into our faces with a sign over her head saying 'like me!'. It was way too forced and it was just too much. I didn't find her very likable anyway which, I guess, made it harder for me to understand why she was the one we were supposed to be rooting for but even so it was like she was being forced down our throats like 'YOU WILL LIKE ME'. No wonder Mother Crow felt threatened by her!The plot itself moved along well for a good portion of the book and then, like a lot of others have already pointed out, in the middle it just lost its flow. Now, that's not to say that there weren't still some excellent scenes and scares during the middle of the book however some of the scenes just felt unnecessary and like a way to just drag out the story longer. I really didn't like how a few of the POV chapters would end with the character in immediate danger with no obvious means of escape and then their next POV chapter would start with them having gotten away somehow. It took me out of the story a bit and annoyed me that we didn't see how they managed to get out of the situation. I understand that the world of Stokes itself doesn't make sense and sometimes the environment would change around the characters in the blink of an eye but sometimes it just felt like a really convenient plot device to get the characters out of the danger so that they wouldn't have to be killed earlier in the story.(hide spoiler)]Overall, I did really enjoy this book though (although it might not seem like it from my little rant) there were just a few things that I didn't like so much which earned it a slightly lower rating from me. The story was a lot of fun to read and was definitely very entertaining. There were some scenes I absolutely loved, particularly (view spoiler)[ the diner scene with Lex and Soo-Lee(hide spoiler)] and some scenes that truly horrified me, in particular (view spoiler)[ Soo-Lee's rape(hide spoiler)] and I'm very glad I read this book.

  • Michael Hicks
    2019-06-06 02:17

    Tim Curran’s latest finds six twenty-something’s lost in the small-town of Stokes after an ill-advised shortcut off the highway following a night of partying. The de facto leader of the group, Chazz, is driving drunk and hits a man…who just so happens to not be a man at all, but a strangely configured collection of doll parts. And the town of Stokes? It shouldn’t exist at all, after a fire wiped the town off the map. Separated by attacking doll creatures, the group stumble through Stokes while Curran delivers one scare after another.Few horror authors deliver as consistently, or get under my skin quite as effectively, as Tim Curran. He is a master at description, and he fills Stokes and its inhabitants with carefully sketched details, and his gory details are enough to send up shivers. I’ve often referred to him as Michigan’s answer to Stephen King, and I think that Doll Face captures this assessment fairly well. The premise is rather outlandish, and would likely prove to be ridiculous, if not outright comical, in less capable hands, but Curran is able to, somehow, make it work. The murderous, doll-like villains are certainly not your average Barbies or even your basically creepy Hummel figurines. They’re axe-wielding, rapey psychopaths hell-bent on murder, their lust for blood utterly insatiable. Curran kicks it up a notch further with an intriguing history of Stokes as a factory town, infusing his story with a solid dose of industrial horror and truly awful spidery creations and rampaging Frankenstein-ish weirdos.Anyone familiar with horror in general, and Curran in particular, know that these six lost souls are largely cannon fodder. Most of them are pretty well-developed, thankfully, and it makes losing them a bit hard to take given the perversely macabre ways of their dispatch. One meets an end that is not only revolting and squirm-inducing, but truly heart-breaking.I have only one complaint, and it’s that Doll Face gets a little too long in the tooth. The middle portion of the book dragged as the group basically finds themselves running in circles from one danger to the next, and I wished that Curran would just get to the point already. Still, that last third of the book is terrifically well-done and the climax is positively outstanding, with a chilling final sentence. While it’s not my favorite Tim Curran book (Dead Sea still holds top honors), it is certainly well worth reading. Go get it!

  • Peter
    2019-06-19 07:39

    A group of friends were returning from a night on the town. Chazz was to drunk to drive his friends home. He decided to take a shortcut that would get them home quicker. While taking this dirt road, Chazz hit somebody with the van. The group gets out to see if the person is still alive. Ramona dials 911 and ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance to the town of Stokes, just off of route 8. There is a hesitation on the other end, the dispatcher says that is impossible, the town of Stokes burnt down in 1960. What waits for them in this abandon town will changes their life forever. There were a lot of twists and turns in this story, with an ending that I did not see coming. The story would have made a great episode for the Twilight Zone. I highly recommend this book!

  • Mommacat
    2019-05-26 02:31

    Do dolls bother you? Do mannequins freak you out just a bit? Tim Curran knows what scares and has written not a passage but a whole book of terror.DOLL FACE starts out with a simple Twilight Zone-like premise that quickly degenerates into your worst nightmares come to life. This heartpounding, action-packed novel should be read when you are alone at home at night for best results. Have your local emergency number programmed into your phone and you doctor standing by...You have been warned. Buy this book!A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my review.

  • Nev Murray
    2019-06-19 00:21

    I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Also this book is published by DarkFuse and you generally cannot go wrong with anything they put out to the masses.I have seen so much on so many sites about Tim Curran I thought this would be a good opportunity to see what all the fuss was about when this came up on NetGalley. After reading this one I’m left feeling a tad disappointed.Six friends are returning from a night out when they get caught in a storm. The driver, being a bit drunk decides to take a short cut that he doesn’t know. As they are entering the town of Stokes, someone walks in front of the van and they run him over. When they get out of the van to see if he is ok, they discover it isn’t a human. It appears to be some sort of mechanical mannequin. When they try to get the emergency services to come help them, it appears Stokes no longer exists and they are trapped in a nightmare in the year 1960 with seemingly no way out. They must battle unseen forces, and their own minds to try and escape and get back to the real world.Now – when I started reading this book it got me excited. It also got me super creeped out. The “evil” that the friends must battle against takes the form of “puppets” if you like. Mechanical mannequins that seem to be easily destroyed but have an uncanny knack of putting themselves together again and re-attacking. The friends are all separated and you end up with a few different stories and battles going on within the main story.The way it is written initially it is very creepy. The idea of being chased around a town that doesn’t exist, by puppets that take many forms and knowing you can’t stop them, is scary. The tension in the book is fantastic in making you read with one eye open as the characters try to hide and can hear the “enemy” coming after them.It takes on another turn in that it starts to mess with the minds of the characters and in turn your own. They start to see and hear things that can’t possibly be real and must try to keep themselves sane in order to escape. This again is very effective in messing with your own mind and creeping you out further.Unfortunately, that’s as far as the story went for me. You discover all of the above fairly early in the book and then the rest is filled with more of the same that sadly became a bit boring for me. I found it hard to keep my concentration and when I came to the end of a page, couldn’t remember what I had read because I was thinking of other things. I hate when this happens in a book and generally lose interest at this point. I kept going hoping it would get better or something different would happen to peak my interest again but it didn’t. It was just a case of going through the motions until I got to the end. I don’t want to sound nasty or cruel but I found this one a bit of a struggle. I would read Mr Curran again to see what he produces because I did like his writing style. I just didn’t like this one too much.2 stars from me.

  • Kim (Wistfulskimmies Book Reviews)
    2019-06-07 06:38

    This is the story of five friends who are on the way home from a night out. Deciding to take a shortcut, the find themselves in a town called Stokes. Only Stokes doesn't exist anymore as it was burned to the ground in 1960. Suddenly the find themselves in an epic struggle for their very lives with no way to get out of town....This was a real head trip but an absorbing story all the same. It built up nicely, and then smacked me in the face with a wallop of an ending. There were a couple of niggles though, one or two character seemed one dimensional and I couldn't really 'gel' with them. That being said they were minor characters so it wasn't too much of a problem. The other niggle was the author's insistence on ramming the insanity down our throats. Every five minutes it seemed we were being told that a character was on the edge of their insanity. These niggles aside it was a great book, that raced along and kept me hooked on every page.

  •  (shan) Littlebookcove
    2019-06-25 23:41

    I happily received this book from net gallery for an honest review. oh my gosh! Tim really packs a punch with this book. from the word go! absolutely terrifying. This was like Tim literally reached into my mind and pulled out one of my worst nightmares! the plot was spot on. and the depth of the characters too. the spooky history of the main character really had me intrigued. highly Recommend.

  • Elke
    2019-06-14 23:36

    It started with a well-known premise: some people taking a short-cut and ending up in a nightmare. But from then on, it was everything but usual and full of surprises. A somehow alive, constantly changing town full of doll-like creatures and abominations and seemingly no way out of it...The ingredients for this story where resourceful and original, constantly revealing new surprises lurking around the next corner. However, I soon became tired of reading about yet another encounter with some strange doll figure. While each episode of this sequence presented another demented horror, I did not feel that it helped the story to continue.Also, too often did the main characters repeat that their only chance to survive this horror was to face it - to act instead of react and thus defeat the controller of this weird little town.While I was not too impressed by the unavoidable showdown, I felt reconciled by the last scene which was a nice little meany.A very original but definitely too long story that may have been more exciting if written as a novella instead of full-length novel.(I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

  • Bandit
    2019-06-20 00:38

    Seems like I'm going off horror possibly. To test the theory I've turned to genre's best, enter Doll Face. A novel that by all means should have been a novella. Curran is a terrifically imaginative author who can think up some seriously disturbing scenarios and decorate them in some seriously horrifying imagery. But here it is all he does, like playing the same few notes over and over again till they are no longer striking as they were in the beginning, but merely tedious. The start of the book was great, sort of like an I Know What You Did Last Summer detouring into The Island (small town really) of Misfit Toys, but then it just went on and on in an unnecessarily long display of Curran's macabre creativity, like a nightmare that just wouldn't end. The ending was appropriately disturbing too, but all the middle...too much. So maybe I am off horror or maybe this story needed some serious editing and trimming, because it had good bones, but just let itself go to fat. Judging by the reviews my opinion is that of a minority, so this is definitely something you might very well enjoy. And creepy dolls have seldom been creepier. Seriously.

  • Scott
    2019-05-26 01:28

    I consider myself a fan of Tim Curran and eagerly await his next work. Alas, there comes a time when one doesn't meet expectations, and Doll Face is that one for me.The premise is fairly simple: a group of young people arrive in a creepy town that doesn't seem to exist in our reality and can't get out. The menace is life size puppets in various stages of decay. Other books by Mr. Curran have started with a well-worn horror trope and risen above it, so I was not deterred.The beginning of the novel was great. The mystery and nightmarish situation are very vividly realized. And sort of just stays in the same spot. There are unending chases as the protagonists become separated and hunted down by the monsters. Tim Curran's writing remains excellent in terms of description, but it seems like the story is set on repeat for the remainder of the book. As my interest waned I had trouble remembering who was where and what specific danger they were in.Maybe if creepy dolls really do it for you this will be more effective than it was for me. I felt that the story would have worked better if it was cut in half and made in to a novella. Can't recommend this one, 2.5 stars.

  • Majanka
    2019-06-07 06:43

    Book Review originally published here: Doll Face, after going out one night, six friends return home and when one of them decides to take a shortcut, they end up in a town called Stokes. The driver, Chazz, accidentally runs someone over, and an argument ensues – will they drive forward, or will they stop to help? Eventually they get out of the car, and check how the man is doing – except, he’s not a man at all. He’s not human, but a mannequin, a doll that walked just seconds ago. They call an ambulance, but the operator says no town named Stokes even exist. Or well, it existed, but completely burned down in the 1960s. Soon, the six of them realize they’re trapped in a grotesque version of 1960s Stokes, a village inhabited by dolls and mannequins, and the Spider-Moth, a despicable creature with hundreds of doll legs and faces that chases them through town. All of it seems centured around the factory just out of town, but will they ever reach it? With Stokes turning into a maze, and each road leading to the same road, and while being chased by murderous dolls, not all of them might make it out alive.So, the premise for this book, is you just read my summary above, is amazing, right? Well, it certainly sounded amazing to me. Abandoned town? Check. Creepy dolls? Check. I was thinking this would be like Silent Hill, but with creepy dolls rather than Pyramid Head. And the book did start out with a bang. We’re introduced to our group of six. The cast isn’t that diverse – they all seem like they’re losers or at least regard themselves that way. But we’ve got Chazz, who is a controlling idiot, and who always wants to be in charge, yet doesn’t know how to take responsibility. Then we’ve got Ramona, Chazz’s girlfriend. Although she might have what it takes to be the brave heroine this book so desperately needs, she has one major character flaw: she’s too self-critical, always blaming herself for what the men she loves do wrong. If Chazz acts rude toward her, it must be her fault somehow. If he cheats on her, she must’ve done something wrong. She does gradually shed this part of her as the book progresses, but it’s hard to like a character who is that self-critical.Next up, we’ve got Lex and So-Lee. They’re the first ones who felt the weird vibes of Stokes, and the first to break through an illusion, but apart from that, the reader doesn’t know much about them – who were they before they ended up in Stokes? What did they do? – and it’s hard to connect with them. We’ve also got Danielle, who is so shallow and useless she doesn’t even get a POV, so connecting with her is next to impossible. And then there’s Creep, who has moments when a reader might feel sympathetic toward him. He’s a loser too, or at least sees himself that way, and he’s not very brave, but he comes across as the most realistic of all the characters, and sometimes, I sympathized with him. Not a lot though.The trouble with this book, first and foremost, is the lack of sympathy one feels to the characters. They all seemed like the different shades of the same color. All slightly different, yet at their core, remarkably the same. Ramona and Creep at least had some moments where the reader could connect with them, the other characters didn’t. As such, I didn’t much care what happened to any of the characters.The writing is haunting and atmospheric, and the image of the Spider-Mother won’t leave my mind soon. But the writing is also repetitive. The characters split up, and each of them faces off against a different cast of mannequin dolls – but still, each scene plays out the same way. Characters runs into monster, then runs away from it, and narrowly manages to escape. Repeat. It’s boring and gets repetitive, and this book could’ve easily been turned into a novella if some of the repetitive scenes got axed.Now, the good parts of the book, becaause it has a few. As I said, the writing is good, and the descriptions are pure gold. The atmosphere is creepy, and the town of Stokes feels very claustrophobic. But because the creep-factor rises to the highest level almost right away, the suspense dies out quickly. If it had more build up, the book might’ve been better, but it was as if all monsters got unleashed all at once, and rather than terror rising, it just stays at the same level throughout. But because we grow accustomed to this level, the suspense dies out. Toward the end, I had to force myself to continue reading.Doll Face isn’t too bad, but I wouldn’t call it good either. The concept and premise are great, and the writing works too. It’s just that it’s too long, too repetitive, and none of the characters are easy to sympathize with. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but other horror fans might enjoy it.

  • Doug
    2019-06-12 03:23

    I read Doll Face even with the personal caveat that Curran's other scary doll story, Puppet Graveyard, had left me mostly cold. Curran strikes me as the kind of writer whose work I can appreciate on a technical level but not quite jive with on a emotional one. I have quite enjoyed some of his novellas and short stories, but overall I feel an urge to nod and appreciate what is there, and not quite embrace it in the way that my favorite horror leads me to do.Doll Face is a fairly similar experience for me. I have a soft-spot in my heart dedicated to the "scary puppet/doll" genre, and this book is either a nightmare for those with pediophobia[1], or an exercise in flooding. There are lots and lots of scenes with dolls, puppets, mannequins, doll parts, etc, etc clacking around and melting out of hallways and groping main characters and coalescing into spider-like things. And raping [2]. The first third is interesting as it drifts from an I Know What You Did Last Summer clone into a phantasmagorical tale, and the last third involves a surreally entertaining final showdown. The book's true weakness is in the middle third, where it pads out the story by blending nearly identical scenes happening to different characters with disjointed chapter jumps that allows the story to play out as three or four simultaneous nightmares rather than a solid whole. This book could probably have lost about a quarter to a third of its page count and soared higher because of it: multiple descriptions of dolls acting terrifying ends up having something of an opposite effect than intended. So, while it does not endear me any further towards Curran, it at least was neat to see the sheer over-the-top quantity of doll/mannequin fear triggers. Not exactly recommended, except to those who definitely like Curran or those who want to read/watch all the scary-doll stories they can. ****1: Fear of dolls, though if you say it too fast in the wrong place, people will probably assume you said something else.2: Can't forget the rape-by-doll scene, something Curran ridiculously examined in Puppet Graveyard, and this means he has written about it twice[2], which seems perhaps two times too many for any writer. Technically, there are three scenes in this novel (at least), that approach doll rape. Two of them are thwarted. One of the thwarted ones involves a throbbing doll-penis equipped with a babydoll head. Yum!

  • Heather Lawson
    2019-06-04 06:24

    I was so hoping for something more from this book than what was delivered. The premise grab me instantly: six friends are trapped in a town that doesn't exist with creepy dolls that are trying to turn them into dolls too. It sounds like a great horror book, but there was a lot that bothered me about this.It is a sick and twisted book. Don't get me wrong, I can love that about a horror book sometimes, but this just was bad. It starts off great, lots of creepy tension and the usual chaos that comes from the initial panic setting in. But then it slows right down and as it jumps from character to character with each chapter, it was a little confusing picking up the threads of what was happening at times.Then there's the events that actually happen - or don't, as the case may be. They split into little groups of two or three and then they hide, basically. Something will come after them, and they hide, then they get discovered, then they hide again. It's very repetitive.Throughout the whole book there is a sexual undertone to it: the dolls are naked, they keep talking about wanting to please them, the characters all seem to be really perversely attracted to the idea of being dominated by the dolls. It's really twisted and not something I found easy to read. I was repulsed by it, if I'm honest.The sexual violence nearer the end was really disturbing. I almost put the book down, but by that point I was practically finished so I soldiered on. It's very graphic and detailed in the description of not only the horrific events that happen to each of the characters, but also in the aftermath of it too.While the overall story isn't bad, the sexual violence that is littered throughout the book really killed my enjoyment of it. Most of the time, I felt it was there for no reason other than for the shock factor. I think this could've been a really good horror story if it had focused more on the fear and less on the sex.I have nothing against reading books with sexual scenes in them, this one just took it too far for my liking. Not one that I would recommend or pick up again.

  • Bookschatter
    2019-06-06 02:41

    Doll Face was my first taste of Tim Curran's twisted imagination.  Having heard such good feedback about Curran's work and about this latest offering, I had high expectations, which unfortunately were not met. I immediately found the premise of the book very reminiscent of  A.R. Wise's "314 (Widowsfield Trilogy)", where six characters in a van also end up being trapped in a town that no longer exists dominated by a mysterious entity, "the Skeleton Man".  The first character to die is virtually the same in both works...  unfortunately I simply could not escape the similarities...However, whereas "314" has a multi-layered plot, spanning various time frames and well developed characters, Doll Face felt very one dimensional. The time line was perfectly linear, and the events seemed to unfold in the space of a few hours.We learn very little about its characters to even begin to care about them.  I felt that the main entity was the only one to have been given some personality. There were some good and very imaginative sections, especially in the last third of the book, where things turned very sexual, dark and twisted.  However, the first two thirds felt quite repetitive, I found myself bored and I had to force myself to carry on reading. I found the ending rushed, implausible (given the events that were being described), and overall predictable. All considered, Doll Face gave me the feel of an old B-movie. [ARC received via Netgalley]BooksChatter