Review: The Messy Man by Chris Sorensen

Have you read The Messy Man series? It's a creepy good time.

The Messy Man by Chris Sorensen

Published October 2020

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon |  Bookshop

Source: Received for Review Consideration 

Ellen Marx sees ghosts. Her mother Rita just wants her to be a ‘normal’ eleven-year-old kid. But that’s tough to do when you receive a birthday card from your dead father.

Following a trail of breadcrumbs left by her dad, Ellen sets out on a journey to unravel the mystery surrounding her father’s disappearance and ends up unearthing secrets best left buried.

The third and final book in the haunting trilogy, The Messy Man brings to a close the story that began with The Nightmare Room and The Hungry Ones. 

My 2 Cents For Free!

Have you read The Nightmare Room and the Hungry Ones? Yeah?! Then you’ll want to jump right into The Messy Man. No? Do something good for yourself and add them to your reading list because I think this trilogy will work best when read in order and you may spoil surprises and reveals if you read them out of order. But also, you can do whatever you want 😹

This story manages to take elements from the previous two books and merges them into a story set in two storylines. At first, I was like what the? How is this going to work? What happened again way back in book one? And also in book two? My brain can’t handle this, haha because it is faulty on a good day but fortunately the author very kindly adds a little memory jogger for both books at the end of the book. I recommend reading them before tackling this one if your memory isn’t quite so great or if you’ve read hundreds of books in-between. I know I referenced back a time or three.

So this time we travel back in time and meet up with Ellen Marx on her 11th birthday. We also get to meet her shitty, impatient, and selfish mother. Ellen’s dealing with the loss of her dad and the awfulness that is her mother - not to mention the fact that she sees and hears ghosts and no one believes her. When a surprise birthday card from her deceased (missing?) dad arrives, and she’s haunted by the words “Blind Rock”, she takes it upon her 11-year-old self to follow the clues wherever they may lead.

I’m not going to lie here, I wish Ellen had been a few years older. I loved meeting the young Ellen but her adventures and sleuthing and powers of investigation and her overall wiliness would’ve read more realistic had she been 13 or 14. That’s my only complaint. The story is well crafted and brings in elements from the previous books and wraps up some loose ends. It also has some very vivid creeptastic moments and I appreciated the fact that Ellen’s mom wasn’t a very nice person. Some parents aren’t that great, it’s true. It’s comforting to see them portrayed in books this way rather than having them be completely absent or disgustingly supportive and perfect.

The other storyline features Peter but I can’t say too much about that without spilling all the things you should discover on your own. At first, I wondered how the two storylines were ever going to come together in a coherent way but no worries - the author pulled it off.

And my favorite quote comes from Ellen who is a little bit of all of us when she says:

“When I grow up, I won’t have a living room or a dining room or a guest bedroom. I’ll turn them all into libraries.”

Same Ellen. That’s the goal!

Anyhow, this is a fantastic trilogy and I think all of you should give it a read. I can’t wait to see what this writer comes up with next. 



  1. I've never heard of this series before, but I'm not really into hardcore horror. I do have some in my shelves that are still unread for days when I find the gumption to do so. Lol.

    1. Haha, I understand. My daughter flips my books around if I leave them out. She can't do anything remotely horror.

  2. This series is right up my alley. Sounds like another good Sorensen book!

  3. Ooh that looks spooky. And I'm not sure I've ever read a horror trilogy, actually. that sounds fun- an ongoing story like that. And yeah seeing crappy parents actually portrayed that way- you don't always see that. Anyway, glad this was good even if the protag coulda been a but older...

    1. I like the way the stories were all connected but I am usually the absolute worst at keeping up with a series. Somehow I did it this time. Very proud of myself, haha.

  4. What a great quote! My guest bedroom has already become a library. Wait until my husband hears that I have plans for the living room. This sounds like a series that I would definitely enjoy and I love the fact that the author included memory joggers. Why can't all authors do that?!

    1. My memory is SO bad and after too long all the books start to blend into one and I so appreciate the recap.

      I hope to turn all my rooms into a library - someday!


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