Self Storage, the psychological horror novel from Jay Bonansinga, author of the official The Walking Dead novel series, just may be the writer’s best yet.
You know a book is a good one when finishing it requires a period of recovery time.
But that’s exactly what happened when I read Self Storage. Having read every entry of author Jay Bonansinga’s The Walking Dead book series, I knew what I was in for. But those books are mostly about survival in a zombie apocalypse, and they don’t touch on psychological horror in the brutal way Self Storage does.
The story begins on the day before Christmas Eve. John Fitzgerald— artist and heroin addict— is tasked with taking his 6 year old son Jake home for the big holiday. He just needs to run some errands first, which includes retrieving some renderings from his unit in a self storage warehouse.
Unfortunately, John and Jake accidentally lock themselves in the 10 by 10 unit. There is no way out from the inside, and the holidays mean no passers-by are showing up anytime soon. The father and son quickly realize how horrible this predicament is when the lights cease. And somehow, things only get much, much worse from there.
Self Storage (Magnetik Ink)
There is no food or water in the self storage unit. All the Fitzgeralds have is each other and the hope that some how, some way, they’ll be able to escape. But as time goes on, their chances seem less and less likely. To save Jake, John must deal with the effects of hunger, thirst, isolation, constant darkness, and worst of all, heroin withdrawal— which is making him deathly sick.
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Although the book isn’t a very long read, I meant to take my time with it. I have somewhat of a short attention span, and I don’t get through books very quickly. A chapter here, a couple there, and it might take me a couple of weeks sometimes. Self Storage only took me two sittings to complete, however, as I just literally could not put it down.
My first time diving into the book, I only made it maybe a fourth of the way through. I went to take care of other things, but the whole time, I just could not stop thinking about that book. John and Jake were trapped in that self storage unit. And as the father of a nearly six year old myself, I worried about that child. It almost felt like not finishing the book was like leaving him in the storage unit.
Soon after, I picked the story back up, and did not stop until it was complete. Anyone familiar with my slow reading habits knows how impressive this is. I kept waiting for an appropriate stopping point, but none ever came. Every chapter ending just dared me to put the book down, and there was no way that I could. I just really needed to know what happened to that boy. I kept reading, hoping and praying that the duo would finally get some sort of lucky break.
Self Storage haunts me in a much different way than other horror books. Its psychological horror elements are what unease me the most. As John’s heroin withdrawals kick in, he starts losing focus as to what’s real and what isn’t. His thoughts are always on keeping Jake safe, but he’s getting weaker by the day. And the hallucinations are definitely only making things worse… but are they even hallucinations?
I’m not going to tell you how this gripping story concludes, because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I’ll just warn you that once you pick up this book, you’re going to have a lot of difficulty putting it down.