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Come With Me Ronald Malfi Main

"Come With Me" Book Review

Written by Steve Pattee

Published by Titan Books

come with me ronald malfi poster large

Written by Ronald Malfi
2021, 400 pages, Fiction
Released on July 20th, 2021

Review:

I love Ronald Malfi’s work. He has this seemingly ingrained skill for making you feel unsettled in otherwise normal situations. And, when things get real, the uncomfortableness gets jacked up to 11. Things get real a lot in his latest, Come With Me.

Recently I read something that kind of surprised me because it was the first time I saw this actually written out. This is something I’ve been telling my family for years. When someone dies, do not, under any circumstances, look through their browsing history. You won’t like what you will find. In Come With Me, Aaron Decker does something similar after his wife Allison is gunned down by a mass shooter. He finds amongst her things a receipt for a motel room in another state. A trip she never told him about. Soon, Aaron is obsessed with finding out about Allison’s secret life and what she was investigating before her death, and in doing so puts his own life in danger. The woman he married is suddenly a mystery to him.

As you may conclude from my (very brief) synopsis, Come With Me is more mystery than horror. But this is Malfi writing it, so there are definitely strange goings-on in its pages. Aaron frequently talks to his wife as if she can hear him and there are some weird happenings with lights throughout the book. Lights just seem to flicker on and off, or just turn on randomly. However, Aaron isn’t the most reliable narrator, as he also (maybe) catches glimpses of his dead wife. It’s understandable, death can be almost as traumatic for the living as it is for the dead, and it’s up to us, the reader, to determine if these supernatural things are really happening to Aaron or not. And, in the grand scheme of things, does it matter?

For me? It doesn’t matter. These instances certainly up the creep factor of an already creepy book. But at its core, it’s an intriguing mystery Malfi deftly guides you through, giving you just enough to keep you hungering for more and devouring each page.

It's tough to pull off what Malfi does in Come With Me. As the mystery unfolds and the book gets closer to the inevitable reveal, I kept saying to myself, “Don’t cheat this with the supernatural.” Because while, as mentioned, Aaron is unreliable so you don’t really know if those lights really are going off and on, I didn’t want it to be a crutch. But it’s Malfi, and I should have known better. There’s no cheat here. Malfi plays well within the confines of the environment he wrote and while in lesser hands you’d expect a deus ex machina to tie everything up, you don’t get that here. Instead, you get a solid ending to a solid mystery.

Speaking of mystery, I really like all of the ingredients in this mix. Not only is there a (possibility of a) ghost, there’s also a serial killer, urban legends, misdirection, and genuine three-dimensional characters. Man, I would love to see a mini-series based on this.

And the ending! Let’s talk about that shocker. Okay, that’s not a good idea, because the ending is an absolute banger and that’s all you’re going to get. After you think the book is over and everything is wrapped up, it continues. I’m not going to lie, at first I was saying to myself, “He should have ended it back there; this is unnecessary.” But I was wrong. So, so very wrong. The novel finishes exactly where it should, causing me to audibly gasp and everything. You’ll see what I mean.

With Come With Me, Ronald Malfi expertly blends horror, mystery, suspense, and thriller as only he can do. This is a must-read for fans of dark fiction.

Grades:

Overall: 4.5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Steve Pattee
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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