the loop book cover

The Loop – Book Review

Review of The Loop, by Jeremy Robert Johnson

There is no shortage of apocalypse novels or zombie adjacent stories. Some people may say that the market is completely saturated. Yet, time and again I find one that shows me this genre will never go stale. The Loop has the most important piece of the puzzle, it has characters that actually matter.

Lucy, our protagonist, attends school in a small town where everyone is either very wealthy or super poor. She’s in the super poor category and hates herself for having a crush on a rich jock. Just your typical small town high school problems.

She thinks that this crush and a fight with her best friend are her biggest troubles until a kid in her class has a seizure that appears to be more along the lines of a possession. Amidst his thrashing of limbs he kills their teacher violently. After this another boy from the school goes missing and yet another is found dead in an apparent murder suicide by his mother.

Suddenly, everything is far more tumultuous than the average high school problems. We get the story as Lucy experiences it and also through the lens of a conspiracy theorist podcaster who knows that this little town has a lot of big secrets.

The violence amps up throughout The Loop and doesn’t hold back. Once someone gets entangled in this loop their worst thoughts are amplified and they act on all of their most despicable impulses. It’s essentially if everyone starts letting their intrusive thoughts win. Naturally, some people have much worse intrusive thoughts than others and the worst of the worst rise to the top.

The class divide plays a role in who has the most disturbed thoughts. I assume that most everyone reading this is not super wealthy (just for the fact that most people everywhere struggle financially) and will be able to relate to the less well off characters. For those of us who have known very wealthy people we can also understand how their lack of wanting leads to boredom. Boredom can lead to awful acts, idle hands and all that.

*Slight spoilers ahead*

Another fantastic element that this book embraces that sets it apart from other zombie-esque novels is the concept of a hive mind. Once in The Loop you have access to the collective knowledge and experience of everyone else present. This allows this many bodied villain to be as intelligent as the town collective. Now that’s way scarier than the brain-dead hoards who are only interested in feeding time.

I found myself captivated by this horror story and wanted Lucy, her best friend, and her new potential romance to succeed in stopping the infestation and saving themselves. The ending actually got me choked up. It’s beautiful and romantic in the darkest sense. This kind of ending can only be accomplished when the reader cares deeply about the characters involved and that is my most important marker for a great book.

*spoilers over*

You may think you’re bored with this horror genre but if you ever liked it at all I would encourage you to give The Loop a chance. It’s a page turner with just the right amount of gore. Well, for me at least, I like my horror messy.

5/5 loops ➰➰➰➰➰

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