ARC Review: Awakened

awakened.jpgTitle: Awakened

Author: James S. Murray with Darren Wearmouth

Publish Date: June 26, 2018

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Rating: ★★★★★

Links: Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Amazon


The star of truTV’s hit show Impractical Jokers—alongside veteran sci-fi and horror writer Darren Wearmouth—delivers a chilling and wickedly fun supernatural novel in the vein of The Strain, in which a beautiful new subway line in New York City unearths an ancient dark horror that threatens the city’s utter destruction and the balance of civilization itself.

After years of waiting, New York’s newest subway line is finally ready, an express train that connects the city with the burgeoning communities across the Hudson River. The shining jewel of this state-of-the-art line is a breathtaking visitors’ pavilion beneath the river.  Major dignitaries, including New York City’s Mayor and the President of the United States, are in attendance for the inaugural run, as the first train slowly pulls in.

Under the station’s bright ceiling lights, the shiny silver cars gleam. But as the train comes closer into view, a far different scene becomes visible.

All the train’s cars are empty.

All the cars’ interiors are drenched in blood.

As chaos descends, all those in the pavilion scramble to get out. But the horror is only beginning. High levels of deadly methane fill the tunnels. The structure begins to flood. For those who don’t drown, choke or spark an explosion, another terrifying danger awaits—the thing that killed all those people on the train. It’s out there…and it’s coming.

There’s something living beneath New York City, and it’s not happy we’ve woken it up.



I’m a huge fan of Impractical Jokers so when I heard “Murr” was writing a book and giving away ARCs at BookCon (which I already had tickets to attend), I basically freaked out. I was even more intrigued when I found out that Awakened is a horror novel. If you’ve ever seen his show, you know that Murr is a comedian, so I was expecting some type of humorous autobiography. However, this book was nothing like I expected and yet it was amazing. Disclaimer: although I do love the Jokers, I did not let this affect my opinions/review. While I was impressed that Murr wrote such a serious book, I honestly would’ve enjoyed this book even if it had been written by an author I knew nothing about.

This novel takes place all within one day – the day of the inaugural run of New York’s new Z Train subway system, which was created in order to connect New York to New Jersey by trains that run underneath the Hudson River. When the train rides into the main station for the first time, its passengers are missing and it is covered in blood. What follows is a race to determined what happened and how to get out of the subway system alive.

This book was intense! The book starts off with the tragic inaugural run of the Z Train and things only pick up from there. In fact, this is probably the most fast-paced book I’ve ever read. There is constant action and not a single dull moment from beginning to end. 

The chapters alternate between several perspectives. As people are separated throughout the story, you get to see what happens to different characters who are scattered throughout the subway system: in the Pavilion, the command center, the tunnels, etc. In general I feel that novels with alternating POVs can be very hit-or-miss, but it definitely worked in this case. It allowed us to see each character uncovering pieces of the mystery of what really happened and struggling for survival. 

The characters themselves were pretty well developed considering the fact that the novel mainly focuses on action. We get to learn a bit of background about numerous characters as well as their connections to each other.

The plot was my favorite part. There are a lot of hard to anticipate twists. Throughout the story, the characters unearth a conspiracy. What they initially assume is a terrorist attack is so much more complicated.

Overall, I thought this novel was very unique and well-written. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. I would recommend this to anyone who likes to read books that are fast-paced, action-packed, and even a little creepy.

Overall rating: 5 stars navy


Let’s Talk!

Are you a fan of Impractical Jokers? Are you excited to read Awakened?




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