ARC Review: Don’t Write It Down by C.E. Wilson

don't write it down by c.e. wilson Book Review blog header

Published: July 10th, 2017; self-published | Series: Rainbow Noir #1 | Length: 90 pages | Genre: horror | Source: I received an eARC from the author. | Possible Triggers: violence, ableism (related to mental health), sexist insults (like sl*t, wh*re), self-harm

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Summary from Goodreads:

Words have consequences. For some, more than others.

Bestselling novelist Emma Ross isn’t satisfied being number two. She wants to be number one. She can’t stand always looking up to Jessen Blake – an amazing writer – but also a dead one. She vows that her next book will top the charts no matter what it takes. But after repeated encounters in her dreams with Jessen Blake himself, warning her that she must never become number one, Emma drives herself harder than ever to top him. But as her grip on reality starts to unravel, she begins to suspect that her words may have more power than she could possibly imagine.

I’ve read quite a few of C.E. Wilson’s books in the past and really enjoyed them, so I was more than happy to receive a copy of her first adult horror novel to review. This definitely wasn’t a perfect book, but I still found it enjoyable enough that I’ll be happy to pick up the next book in the series.

The one thing that really stands out as something that I disliked was the way mental health was talked about in this book. I’m always hesitant to criticize individual novels for this because it is a huge problem within the horror genre as a whole (as well as mysteries and thrillers) – a LOT of horror books handle mental health really poorly and this was, unfortunately, not an exception. While it doesn’t necessarily rely on the whole “mentally ill people are evil and violent” trope it does use some stereotypes about mental health. It demonizes medications with the main character refusing to take them because they “turn her into a zombie” and would make it difficult for her to write. She constantly is judged as being “crazy” by people she knows. And towards the end, the main character unravels in a way that is very stereotypical for mentally ill characters. I’m having a hard time putting my exact thoughts into words here, but basically, if you’re someone who is hurt by stereotypical/negative portrayals of mentally ill people, you might want to skip this book.

That’s really the only big problem I had with the book and, like I said, I’m hesitant to complain too much about it simply because it’s a genre problem, not an individual book/author problem. (That’s a subject for another time and not one to tackle in a review, truthfully.) My only other complaint would be that the book was a little predictable, but it wasn’t so predictable that it was boring or uninteresting so it wasn’t a huge problem for me. Actually, one more thing that was slightly frustrating was how long it took for the horror elements to really start. There’s a lot of creepiness and you definitely know that something bad is going to happen but, if I remember correctly, it was over halfway through the book before anything bad actually happened. Not a horrible thing, but like I said, it was a little frustrating.

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One last thing that I wouldn’t really call a complaint since it’s definitely just something that I personally don’t like, rather than an actual complaint about the book, is that I wasn’t expecting there to be such a focus on marital issues. Emma’s ex-husband plays a fairly large role and there’s a lot of talk about their problems, especially him cheating on her. I personally get really bored with these kinds of topics simply because they’re very unrelatable to me. Again, I wouldn’t really call this a complaint of mine since it has nothing to do with the actual writing, but it’s something I thought I’d mention.

But don’t be fooled into thinking I didn’t like this story! While it wasn’t perfect, there was still plenty that I found to be enjoyable. For starters, it was really freaking captivating. Right from the first few pages, it had me hooked and I had a hard time putting it down, especially once it got closer to the end. I don’t even know what it really was that made it so engrossing, honestly, but you won’t catch me complaining about that!

Don’t Write It Down was also quite creative and imaginative, as most of C.E. Wilson’s books are. Although like I said, some of it was predictable, there were small little descriptions and these fantastical or paranormal elements that were incorporated into the book which I really enjoyed. It added a little extra something to make the book that much more fun to read.

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Although Don’t Write It Down had some flaws, it’s still an enjoyable and imaginative book. If you’re in the mood for a horror book, but don’t want something that will take forever to read or that will scare you so much you have to sleep with the lights on (it’s creepy, but not that bad!), this is an excellent choice. Not to mention, you can preorder it for your Kindle right now for only $0.99!

Thank you to the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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9 thoughts on “ARC Review: Don’t Write It Down by C.E. Wilson

  1. Insightful look into the stigma against mentally ill… However there is some truth that those who are already mentally unstable tend to be more inclined to perpetrate crime more easily (poor impulse control, negative views and experiences on society, etc).

    I agree that they tend to be a scape goat in the horror/thriller genre though, an easy way for the author to explain away the trigger to events. 🤔🤔 I would love to see more of your views on the topic in a post


    • While it’s true that mentally ill people often have poor impulse control and other problems that may make it seem as though they’d be more violent, it’s actually not true that mentally ill people are more violent. They’re actually more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. I believe the only exceptions are people with schizophrenia and even they aren’t as violent as they’re portrayed in media. Truthfully, I’m not sure about the effect of mental illness on nonviolent crimes, but I suspect it’s a very complicated issue. We have to take into account the difficulty mentally ill people may have in obtaining housing, jobs, etc. all of which may influence their behavior and make them more likely to steal, for example. But yeah, one of the reasons I don’t read more horror/thriller books is because so often the big twist at the end is “surprise! This person who is killing everyone was mentally ill the whole time!” and it just comes across as lazy writing to me.
      I might end up doing a post on this in the future. It’s a very complicated subject but definitely one that I think more people should be aware of.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I just meant crime overall! But would you consider sociopaths/psychopaths as being mentally ill? Or is that something different? I am studying to be a teacher and my husband works in the federal prison system so this has been our experience.

        Unfortunately it’s generally the people who are not able to obtain help for their condition 😔😔


      • Ah, I see. I was talking about violent crime since that’s usually the way mentally ill people are stereotyped in horror/thriller books/movies/TV/etc.

        Terms like sociopaths and psychopaths are kind of confusing because the way most people use them is usually not how they’re actually *meant* to be used. Sociopath and psychopath, if I remember correctly, are specifiers used for antisocial personality disorder and technically, they aren’t their own diagnosis. But they’re used so commonly by the general public that, in my opinion, they’ve kind of lost any real meaning. 😛 If the person actually has an antisocial personality disorder disagnosis (or would meet criteria for one) then yes, I’d consider them to be mentally ill. But I’m always kind of wary of how the terms are actually being used. Because a lot of time people use them to describe someone whose mean or selfish or something like that. I hope that wasn’t too confusing, hahaha.

        And unfortunately you’re right – a lot of people have a hard time getting access to mental health services and as a result, continue to suffer for so long that it gets worse and they never learn how to cope with their disorder. For a lot of people, that results in a lot of negative consequences like not being able to hold a job which can then lead them to rely on criminal activity to survive.

        Liked by 1 person

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  3. Great review! That’s very true that the depiction of mental health in horror isn’t good. I don’t read a lot of horror, but the last one I read, Dead House, did that. It was good, I was really entertained by the book, but the MCs mental illness was the “plot twist” I guess you’d call it. That’s always unfortunate. Although, I’m glad you still enjoyed the story as a whole! I’m intrigued by this one, I may check it out 🙂 lovely review!


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