Book Review: The Ticket by Zaph Stone

Their very, very last thought was that this was probably for the best. The golden straw-colored dunes and the clear, deep blue sky faded away, and a once immaculate, untouched beauty was now forever stained with blood, lots and lots of blood.

It’s 1985, South Australia – a group of friends head off on a camping trip to the remote and beautiful Innes National Park. They’re planning on a weekend of surfing, drinking, drugs, and hijinks. It’s the eve of the state’s first million-dollar x-lotto draw, and one of the couples has a ticket. What could possibly go wrong? A lot is the answer, a lot –

I’d describe this, my second novel, as a tense, suspenseful, and ultimately horrific white knuckle thrill ride – but then again, I would say that. You be the judge – if you dare!

My Review

Several friends decide to go on a camping/surfing trip in 1985. Greg and Miranda have a van that will fit everyone…barely. The first 50 pages or so are spent getting to know the characters. There are nine main characters which is quite a few. I was mostly able to keep them straight, but it would have been easier if three of characters’ names didn’t all start with the same letter (Jamie, Jane, and Jackie).

When someone starts murdering the friends one by one, they don’t know if it’s a stranger who is doing it or one of them. Is it because of a winning lottery ticket that Greg and Miranda have? Or is that a coincidence? Most of them have had abusive pasts whether by family or bullies. Could that have something to do with it?

Shane, whose girlfriend is Jackie, has made some bad decisions, and some bikers are looking for him because he owes them money. He was planning on running, but the bikers have found him. Jamie, whose girlfriend is Jane, has made a bad move in the stock market and is suddenly broke. One of the bikers was sent to keep an eye on the campers. Even after someone is murdered, all Jackie can think about is the lottery ticket. So many possibilities for the reader to consider!

But occasionally, the story goes back in time to the future killer, telling their story. Because of these, I figured out who the killer was very early. I was hoping I was wrong and there would be a big twist at the end, but I was right. Despite that, once things get started, it’s impossible to put this book down. There’s so much going on and so much suspense!

The characters are young and most of them have no problem with doing drugs, so there were a couple of times that I just sat there with my mouth hanging open! I won’t go into it any further…no spoilers. I didn’t care for several of the characters, not because of their youth or the drugs but because they just weren’t good people. Greg and Miranda were a nice, normal couple. A couple of the others seemed decent as well.

There were also a few times that the intensity was broken but something hilarious such as when a tent collapses on a couple, and they can’t get out. Also, occasionally, the author’s writing tickled me. An example: “Liam didn’t like the look of this at all. I don’t like the look of this at all, he thought.” That wasn’t done often, just enough to make me giggle.

There is a lot of violence in books and movies these days, but there were a couple of things in this book that still make me anxious when I think about them.

The Ticket is absolutely a book I recommend. Even though it needs to be proofread, it’s still a great read.

About the Author

Zaph grew up in the UK and settled in Australia in the early 1980s. He has been writing professionally for a couple of years, and he sincerely hopes that you can join him on this adventure – it promises to be one hell of a ride.

Hit Zaph up on his website – https://zaphstonetheauthor.wixsite.com/website or socials under the tag zaphstonetheauthor. Thank you, and if you read my work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

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