Emily Sinclair is a teacher in seclusion, reeling from the loss of several of her third-grade students by the hands of a shooter that opened fire on several classrooms within Marie-Glen Elementary. While dealing with the anxiety of leaving her home and facing the people of the town, Emily is terrified by what is waiting for her outside that takes the shape of shadowy figures resembling her deceased students and the ghostly kids that she refers to as “the pales” that get closer to her with every step she takes. With her sanity in question, Emily seeks help from a psychiatrist, Paul Cusick, as she tells her story of being an educator of children that seemed unteachable to that fateful day in October. However, sometimes what we perceive as reality is skewed.
"Small Hearts by Bryan W. Dull takes us on a skillfully written journey that’ll give you chills, and make you cry, but you’ll want to continue reading to the end. A surprising, amazing must-read story for paranormal, suspense and horror enthusiasts...You’ll lose yourself in the story hoping the now ghostly children from the school’s massacre will find peace and leave Emily alone. She needs to grieve and come to terms with the deaths of the children, and the loss of her reputation, and her fiancé. The twists and turns in Small Hearts are unexpected and make a meaningful contribution to the overall story. Yes, this is, primarily, a horror novel, with graphic storytelling; however, if readers will give this book a read, you, like me, will want to see this become a number one bestseller. Why? Someone needed to tell this story, and the author does an amazing job with sensitivity to this societal horror.
The author, Bryan W. Dull, boldly takes a present nightmare, albeit horror for society, and creates a story with unforgettable fictional characters. His provocative story based on true events sends a strong message about crime in our country and at the same time offers us hope for the future. Brilliantly written and a must-read adult horror fiction. Small Hearts by Bryan W. Dull is highly recommended." - Artisan Book Reviews
"The characters within this story were amazing. The main character Emily was a powerful character. I took to her the moment I started reading. I couldn’t help but become connected to this character. Her feelings just seemed to pour out of the pages of this book and I couldn’t put it down and when I did, it was like constantly in the back of my head, just taunting me to come back and read more about this character and what she was going through.
The story-line is just pure…..genius!! There aren’t many authors that can completely blow your mind and make you speechless all at the same time. Well….this author did just that. He took a real life situation, put in fictional characters and literally made me not only cry but think about the very strong message behind this story and I still have the chills as I write this review. It’s not something you can take lightly nor can you forget. Because this COULD happen and it HAS happened and I am just completely blown away by this story. This has become my number one top read for this year and I highly recommend it." - Jenny Bynum, Black Words, White Pages
Reviewed By Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite:
Small Hearts by Bryan W. Dull is a unique story for me because I have never read anything like it, and while it is described as horror, I think it articulates the reality and the pain of those who have suffered tragedy in their lives. Emily Sinclair is a former educator who is now living in seclusion after the shooting of her third-grade students at Marie-Glen Elementary. She embraces an enforced solitude, afraid to meet the people of the town, but that doesn’t stop her from having nightmares that throw her life into darkness. She feels too weak to fight and when she starts hearing voices that resemble those of her old students now dead, she knows she can’t draw the line between dream and reality. Can the psychiatrist, Paul Cusick, help her reconcile with her thoughts and sentiments connected to that fateful day when her students were shot?
Small Hearts by Bryan W. Dull is dark and murky, yet strangely delightful; it is a story that explores the conundrum of human fear and pain and takes readers on the uncharted landscapes of loss and a world that is nightmarish. As I started reading this book, I got hooked by the strong character of the protagonist. She is real in every sense of the word and her personality enriches the psychological implications of this novel. The story is well-structured. There are many insightful passages and thought-provoking statements that allow readers to consider existential truths. One such is this: “No one ever tells you when you get older that some of the things that you hold dear in life will change at the drop of a dime.” Small Hearts is skillfully written and the characters are richly developed. The prose is crisp and easy to read. Bryan W. Dull writes intelligently about an example of the horrors that plague our society and allows readers to get vivid glimpses of what violence can do to a loving soul. It is gripping, thoughtfully written, and hugely entertaining.