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The Ruins

A book by Scott Smith

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A remarkably good horror book, hard to forget

  • Nov 4, 2008
  • by
Two couples, Amy and Jeff, Stacy and Eric, travel to Cancun for a month before going off to college. They meet up with Mathias, a German, who's brother has gone missing. Together, along with a Greek who calls himself Pablo and doesn't speak English or German, they make their way into the heart of the Yucatan, Coba, to look for Henrich.

Warned by locals, by their taxi driver, and by the Mayans near the archeological dig, the six tramp forward into the jungles, determined to find Henrich. When they step foot onto the archeological site at a vine covered hill, its too late for warnings. Now they're trapped, unprepared for more than a day hike, with no one but the Greek's partners possibly knowing where they are, and the Mayans won't let them leave the hill.

And there's something else on the hill with them, a sinister presence of hunger and evil that lurks inside the beautiful vines. Trapped, thirsty, hungry, alone, and frightened, the six will desperately try anything to discover the secret of missing Henrich, and what lies in store for the rest of them.

'The Ruins' is the most languidly chilling jungle tale I've read since Jeff Long's 'The Reckoning', and the most scary Yucatan tale since James Brumfield's 'A Tourist In The Yucatan'. Scott Smith has captured the atmosphere of a strange, exotic land, the horror that envelops futility, and the unsettling sense of when sanity slips away - when a human life is measured by a slice of orange. He captures every detail of thought and action without slipping into boredom or redundancy.

I felt like I was right there in the heat and the vines with them, felt the languid, creeping dread, tasted the senselessness of imprudent action and fruitless inaction. 'The Ruins' is a true horror tale, splattered with just enough gore to keep you smacking your lips. No wonder Stephen King recommended this book, its far greater than anything he's written in the last several years. If you're a true aficionado of horror, this book is a MUST HAVE for your collection. 10 Stars. Enjoy!
The Ruins by Scott Smith

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More The Ruins reviews
review by . November 20, 2008
All windup, no followthrough, this very bestseller left me flat despite keeping me reading intently the whole way through. About two-thirds of the way through, you realize there will be no ruins and no rescue, and the book teeters on the brink of "Little Shop of Horrors" parody as it plays out to its predictable end. "Feed me", anyone?
review by . March 19, 2009
The Ruins
    Thrust into a life and death situation, survivors immediately begin planning their means of escape, committed to life; the others surrender to their fear, losing ground in those few vital moments. The characters in The Ruins face more than the usual problems, a threat that is all but incomprehensible, increasingly complex obstacles that require more than the usual human response to danger.     Two vacationing couples in the Yucatan Peninsula, Jeff and …
review by . March 29, 2008
From the very beginning the reader is catapulted into a dark and forlorn tale of doom.  When four friends and some new acquaintances decide to venture out into the lush jungles of Mexico they take a gamble that will cost them the ultimate price. Jeff, Eric, Stacy, Amy, Mathias and Pablo are on a mission to find someone. Mathias informs them that his brother followed the love of his life into a mysterious archeological excavation and that they should go and find them, he ultimately drags …
review by . March 26, 2008
THE RUINS is a horror novel that follows a group of six people as they travel into the jungles of the Yucatan in Mexico, searching for a missing person. Four of the people; Jeff, Amy, Eric, and Stacy, are close college friends from the U.S. spending one last vacation together. Jeff and Amy are a couple and Eric and Stacy are a couple. While enjoying themselves in Mexico they befriend three Greek men and a German. The Greeks speak no English and have taken to calling themselves by Spanish names. …
review by . August 11, 2006
This book is the type that keeps you up very late reading it, because you just can't seem to put it down! The plot races along, and slowly but surely the horror builds until you get to the point where you almost can't stand it. To say almost anything about the plot might be to give away some of the excellent twists and turns from the book, so I won't do that. All I will say is that, if you want a good scare, and don't mind missing some sleep to finish the book, read this!
About the reviewer

Ranked #48
I want to thank Everyone for welcoming me back! :) I'm here to stay folks, my sabbatical on writing reviews is over and I'll continue to review for Lunch. It's great to be back, too! Thanks again for … more
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About this book


In 1993, Scott Smith wowed readers withA Simple Plan, his stunning debut thriller about what happens when three men find a wrecked plane and bag stuffed with over 4 million dollars--a book thatStephen Kingcalled "Simply the best suspense novel of the year!" Now, thirteen years after writing a novel that turned into apretty great moviefeaturing Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton, Smith is back, withThe Ruins, a horror-thriller about four Americans traveling in Mexico who stumble across a nightmare in the jungle. Who better to tell readers if Smith has done it again than the undisputed King of Horror (and champion of Smith's first book)? We asked Stephen King to readThe Ruinsand give us his take. Check out his review below.--Daphne Durham


Guest Reviewer: Stephen King

Stephen King is the author of too many bestselling books to name here, but some of our favorites include: Cell, The Stand, On Writing, The Shining, and the entire Dark Tower series. King also received the National Book Foundation 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, has had many movies and television miniseries adapted from his novels, short stories, and screenplays, and is a regular columnist for Entertainment Weekly. Keep your eyes peeled for Lisey's Story (October 2006), a new television series on TNT based on Nightmares & Dreamscapes (July 2007), and a graphic novel series based on the Dark Tower books coming from Marvel (2007).

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Books, Suspense Books, horror books, Yucatan Peninsula


ISBN-10: 0307389715
ISBN-13: 978-0307389718
Author: Scott Smith
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Vintage
First to Review

"Don't vacation in Mexico"
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