What is your most primal fear? What makes you cringe and squirm when you think about it? Does your heart pound and palms sweat? Does your fear follow you from your conscious state into terrifying nightmares as you enter the subconscious world of sleep? There is no doubt that we all have our own unique phobias. Things that cause genuine terror even when they merely cross our thoughts…let alone actually encounter them in real life. If yours are of the creepy, crawly kind, get ready to be terrified to the core with Jitters!

Essentially, Jitters follows a character by the name of Harold. He is truly a foul individual who is overweight, unemployed and living in his parents’ basement. In truth, those conditions would actually make many people feel some sympathy for this character who has found himself to be in such hard times. However, when Harold’s malicious, hateful and abusive personality traits are revealed, that sympathy disappears in a flash. He is a product of his very real and significant flaws. He loathes everyone around him and blames others for his own self-perpetuated failings. While there are many scenes which will enhance the reader’s loathing and dislike for Harold, his abusive thoughts about women truly tip the scales of disgust.

Is there anything which could significantly impact such a loathsome individual? After all, his character flaws are so deep that he does not seem capable of feeling or relating to anything other than pure hatred. Buckle up! Harold is soon to face his own intense phobia in the form of creepy, crawly cockroaches. What follows is an action packed fight to the finish. Will the experience change Harold for the better? Or will it end in a more sinister fashion?

Before I started this book, I had my doubts as to whether I would really be able to get into it. It is a short story and I personally tend to require longer novels in order to gain my full presence. This was simply not the case with this tale. I read it in one sitting and barely took my eyes off the pages. The author, Ken Stark, has a unique gift when it comes to engaging his reading audience. His descriptions are so vivid and realistic that the reader has little choice but to be totally engrossed in the story. And speaking of gross…Jitters undoubtedly falls under that description heading! For instance, take this passage which sees Harold busily cursing the world for his plight in life:

“He threw a silent curse at the world in general
And stood up, scratching an itch on his backside
And bringing his fingers up to his nose for a quick sniff.”

While this is just a very simple example, it does illustrate how capably Stark is able to vividly and graphically reveal the vulgar side of human nature.

It is always a little tricky to outline a perfect audience or age group for any novel. That being said, I believe Young Adults and up would thoroughly enjoy this book. There are some particularly graphic scenes which would make the story not suitable for a younger crowd. Also, when reviewing books I typically like to discuss the main theme. However, I do not believe I can do that in this case without actually giving away the story. My steadfast “no spoiler” rule has to override theme discussion in this case.

If you are looking amazing writing which will virtually transport you right into the story, then Jitters is just what you have been looking for. Ken Stark is simply a fantastic writer!

5 eerie stars for this one!