Book Recommendation – Labyrinth of the Dolls

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Indie Horror Reviews

Puzzle Box Horror’s book recommendation of the week is Labyrinth of the Dolls by Craig Wallwork.

Craig Wallwork is the author of the novels Labyrinth of the Dolls, Bad People, and The Sound of Loneliness, as well as the short story collections, Quintessence of Dust, and Gory Hole. His stories have been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, many of which feature in various anthologies and magazines both in the U.K. and U.S. He currently lives in England.

Craig Wallwork author photo

Synopsis

It’s been one year since the horrific murders of Stormer Hill, and the events of that time continue to resonate with Detective Constable Tom Nolan. In an attempt to find the second killer, known only as the Ragman, Nolan joins West Yorkshire’s Murder Investigation Team. Partnered with Jennifer Morrison, a straight-talking detective with her eye on promotion, the two officers are assigned to track down a new killer whose victims are all found dressed like human dolls. As the investigation progresses, Nolan becomes an intricate piece in the killer’s grand vision that puts his life in danger.

Reviews

“Wallwork is a talented crime-thriller storyteller. He delivers what genre buffs want: An investigator we care about, grisly murder scenes, unexpected plot developments, and hideously wicked ‘bad people’. LABYRINTH is everything. Wallwork develops our stalwart constable Tom Nolan even further for his readers; emotional investment is at a new level of intensity that I was not expecting.”

Sadie Hartmann, Mother Horror

“I’m happy to report that this sequel retains everything I loved about the first book, while adding new twists, more insight into Nolan’s character, and a creepy new killer. Without spoiling too much I’ll just say that I loved this sequel! The blend of crime thriller and psychological horror, the police procedural elements, the impeccable pacing, the strong writing voice and vivid detail, the gruesome moments and surprising turns – all of it is great!”

Ben Long, reviewer at @reading.vicariously

To read the full review, click here!

Labyrinth of the Dolls by Craig Wallwork is available now at Horror Hub Marketplace

Is the Saw Movie Based On a True Story

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Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is There a Real Jigsaw Killer (Like Saw)

The Saw Movie Franchise: Is It Based Upon A Real Story?

The Saw horror franchise is notorious for its sick and twisted death scenes (even being produced by a company called “Twisted Pictures”). The Saw franchise takes advantage of a very real fear in all of us: sadistic torture and body horror.  Given torture is a fairly realistic fear, free of supernatural elements, it is more logical that there could be a real life killer like John Kramer (Jigsaw from the movie). After all, many of the traps (or similar mockeries) could be devised from simple components and parts available online and from hardware stores.

Is There Any Real Life Killer Like John Kramer (aka Jigsaw) From Saw?

Who could possibly come up with such sadistic torture strategies like those employed by Jigsaw, if they weren’t basing it off of some type of real life event? Twisted Pictures.  Twisted Pictures is responsible, along with James Wan and other directors and writers, for coming up with the deranged story line that is the Saw franchise.  That said, there is one really strong media push to WANT a jigsaw killer, probably due to the movies themselves. In 2009, Jeffrey Howe was murdered by Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush. Howe was dismembered completely and the body parts were found scattered throughout multiple places. Because the many body parts turning up, the media referred to Howe as the “Jigsaw Man,” and later referred to Marshall as the “Jigsaw Killer.”  Truly, Howe was Marshall’s only victim, and Marshall was no where near as smart as John Kramer. In fact, Marshall was a body builder who killed Howe, his friend, in order to steal his food and housing benefits…hardly an intelligent move!

Ultimately, there is no real life Jigsaw killer, however, there are still several notable murders and deaths which ACTUALLY DO resemble Saw-like devices.  And it is most certainly reasonable to assume a fair amount of murderers and conspiring-to-be murderers would draw inspiration from Jigsaw, Saw and the traps from the movies.

drawing of knife machine from Jigsaw Killer and Saw Movies

Notable Murders, Deaths & Plots That Resemble Saw Movie Deaths

Real Death Like Saw #1: The Death of Brian Douglas Wells

A device was attached to Brian Wells’ chest and he was ordered to rob a bank.  The device armed and exploded, leaving a huge baseball-sized hole in his chest, instantly killing him.

Real Death Like Saw  #2: The Death of Richard Hamilton

In 2013, a murderer was spawned who copied a scene out of a Saw film directly by slicing through his victim, Richard Hamilton’s spine until he revealed his ATM card’s PIN number. The murderer was Matthew Tinling, who owned a copy of the very Saw with the torture scene itself. Turns out he only wanted £240, specifically to spend the money on crack cocaine.

Real Death Like Saw  #3: A Triad Murder

Although the murder occurred before the time of Saw, the famous Hello Kitty Murder in Hong Kong (1999) left the world shocked in a similar sense of sadistic. A woman was murdered, decapitated, and her head stuffed into a Hello Kitty doll as an intimidation tactic.

Real Death Like Saw  #4: Canadian Serial Killer Cody Legebokoff

Cody was a fairly young serial killer and decided to murder those he felt sorry for, similar to John Kramer’s reasoning for trapping and murdering his victims in the Saw franchise.

[Close Call] Saw Inspired Plot #5: Recreating the Movie

Two teenage boys (15 and 14 years old) were turned in by one of their mothers after she heard them discussing a plot to recreate the saw movies by kidnapping a police officer and 2 girls around their age, who they believed deserved the saw treatment. They had even begun collecting their necessary supplies, including camcorders for documenting their recreation.

[Close Call] Saw Inspired Plot #6: Saw-Like Phone Calls

Two 13 year old girls from Tennessee got into a little trouble after harassing an older woman with a Jigsaw-like voice, leaving messages that insinuated a game had begun in her home.  The voice messages exclaimed her friend was trapped, hidden in fact, in her home and that she needed to risk dying of toxic gas poison while trying to find her friend, or immediately save herself by escaping the home.  The poor woman instead had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital!

Final Notes About a “Real Jigsaw Killer”

Although many people are inspired by movies, and there may most certainly have been some notable murders that could have been inspired by Saw’s fictional killer Jigsaw…there is no real Jigsaw killer.  The Saw franchise, no matter how creative, is not based upon a true story.

Still, James Wan, Twisted Pictures and everyone else involved in the production of the Saw movies, deserve a standing ovation for their originality within a wildly-saturated industry that is the horror genre.

Teddy bear with fake murder scene imagery