The Warning by Paul Paul, translated by Simon Bruni #WatchingWhatI’mReading


Eight year old Leo, a uniquely “different” boy who has become the center of all bullying at his school, opens a note in his backpack addressed To The Nine Year Old Boy. Scared, shaking in terror, Leo gives the note to his parents who, by the way, should be nominated for the worst parents in all of literature. They assume that Leo has written the note for attention and add to his torment rather than comprehending the danger.

In the same, small Spanish town, a series of robbery/murders have been occurring for nearly a century. The note suggests that little Leo could possibly be the next to die.

The Warning

In the introduction, the author, Paul Pen, apologizes for this, his first book, explaining that while we in the US are just now reading The Warning, it was his first work and therefore flawed. (insert laughing here) If The Warning is his most flawed work then I cannot imagine how incredible his subsequent work has to be! The Warning is classical horror at its finest and by “horror” I am referring to the original genre that brought us Frankenstein, The Yellow Wallpaper, Shirley Jackson’s work and the first writings of Stephen King. It is the genre that will leave you with an uneasy feeling, have you looking over your shoulder for something which you cannot name. Paul Pen has given us a tale in which you hope for a happily after ending knowing that there cannot be one – can there?

Told in alternate timelines nearly a decade apart, The Warning is the story of  Aaron, Andrea and David who are attempting to cope with the senseless shooting of David. Aaron believes he has found a link from David’s shooting to three others in the past. He hopes to stop a fourth one in the future, even if he drives himself insane in the process. Alternately, there is Leo a child who is tormented by bullies and by his own mother relentlessly. Aaron concludes that it is Leo who will be killed. Now he has to convince others and attempt to stop a killing that will happen nine years in the future.

While the book started a tiiiinny bit slow for me, it quickly all came together and rapidly became a book that absolutely floored me, so much so that I read this one in one sitting. It truly is one of the best books of any genre that I have read in ages! Even if you don’t think that you like “horror,” this is a book that you will not want to miss. It isn’t zombie apocalypse horror, it is true, psychological drama at its best.

Paul Pen’s books have been made into Netflix movies, including The Warning, and he currently is working on a Netflix series. Currently you can see The Warning on Netflix – but not until you read the book.

#Netgalley @Netgalley #PaulPen and @AmazonCrossing

14 thoughts on “The Warning by Paul Paul, translated by Simon Bruni #WatchingWhatI’mReading

    1. I watched half of the movie last night and like it so far. I never think that movies are as good as the books because I like what I conjure up in my head more than I like what I see on film. The book really is quite fantastic. I’ve ordered his next two books since my library couldn’t get them. (teeny,tiny library)

      Lately I have found myself watching more Spanish movies and reading Spanish books. I don’t know if they are more available to us now or if their work is becoming better or better known. I’ve not been disappointed yet.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I agree. Books enliven your imagination to where you picture all kinds of things but movies tend to just hand it all to you and say, “Turn that imagination off. We’ll do everything for you.” Ha. Books > Movies, most of the time. Great post!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I always try to read the book first but a couple of times that didn’t work out – namely The Horse Whisperer and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This would be one I’d definitely have to read the book first, I’m not too good with horror on screen…or in books come to that lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think this is “horror” you could handle. It’s old school horror and not blood and gore and slasher stuff of today. I saw the Potato Peel Pie Society before I read the book as well. There times that I don’t realize there is a book until the credits roll. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mackay, wow! A terrific review and I’m hooked! I’m already feeling scared and the premise sounds superb. I had to wonder about the apology by the author! Now you mention Netflix I’ll try and ensure I read the book first … books are almost invariably better than films or tv productions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved his apology at the beginning. At first I thought it was tongue in cheek but after I re-read it I realized he really was sincere. As a writer, I think you would appreciate it. I’m unsure why they translated his new novels before his first but I’ve noticed other authors have done the same. I’ve finished the Netflix film now and, yes, the book is much better but it was well done.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do not read horror either, but I like the way you have described this one. It sounds like a book that I too could devour in a short time. It sounds really good, Mackey. Thanks for this wonderful review, I just got it off Netgalley and if I like it, I will check out his other books. Thanks for sharing this one.


  5. Pingback: AtoZ Reading Challenge 2020 – Macsbooks

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