Drew works hard, pays his taxes, and loves his family. But when a visit from the spirit of his deceased grandfather coincides with the violent murder of two co-workers, Drew falls into a desperate spiral of delusion and betrayal as the demons of the past drag him into Preta's Realm.
Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 183 pages
Published August 1st 2011
Lily's Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I wasn't scared one bit. Not for a single second reading this horror novel. Grossed out.. ya, a few times. But not scared. This was a novella filled with shock value.
It was an interesting and original type of story, but I found it a little disjointed. The sequence of events seemed to be a little chaotic and didn't immediately tie in neatly. However, it all starts to tie in a bit better towards the middle. I also felt that at certain parts of the book, it seemed like I had missed a very important scene that would have explained the actions of the characters at that moment. I especially noticed this when the parallel stories of Drew, who is haunted by this demon, and Ravna, a demon hunter (? I think?) start to come together.
Drew's character was very confusing to me as well. I started reading this novel feeling very sympathetic towards him. He seemed like a loyal, loving husband who dodged the affections of a co-worker at his office due to his love for his wife. But not long after that, there are confusing scenes that distorted my perception of this guy. He treats his wife like crap one second, and is completely devoted the next. In turn she seems to take the abuse like it is a normal thing, while in the next moment she is inviting him for a quick tryst in the bedroom. They seem to be very loving and sexual with each other one moment, and the next they are a completely dysfuntional family. I couldn't pin down their relationship or their personalities, and therefore couldn't relate on the most basic of levels. I wasn't invested in a single character as none of them seemed to be consistent...
With the exception of the demon.
Gaki seemed to be the only consistent thing in this novel. But even he didn't scare me, because all I kept envisioning every time he made an appearance was Gollum. I couldn't help it!!! Even in the most shocking of scenes with this creature, I could not help but picture Gollum, and found myself giggling at the absurdity of it.
The ending left a lot to be desired. Not only am I still scratching my head on how the escape actually happened, but the very end scene cut off like the book was missing pages. It was abrupt and completely failed at satisfying me as a reader.
The book got a generous 2.5 star rating from me, based solely on the fact that though I had a lot of issues with it, I had a hard time putting this down. I admit, I liked the shock value. I wanted to know where the writer was going to take this story. I enjoyed that a villain was introduced that had roots in other religions, as opposed to the more used Christian demons. I thought that the introduction of the Gaki into the life of Drew, through his grandfather as a soldier, was original and well thought out, even though the telling of it was slightly disjointed. It was a novella that has potential to be higher rated with the use of a good editor, and had the basics to keep me riveted even through all my complaints.
J. Thorn crafts stories for eyes and ears. He lives in the shadow of the Cuyahoga River which has not caught fire in over forty years.
Several of J. Thorn's short stories have won awards, including "Ten Days", the 2009 New Author Short Story Contest winner, as well as "Retrograde", winner of the Lullabies Short Story Contest, 2009. In addition, he is featured in two new books featuring independent authors. "8 Hours to Jump Start Your Career" by Tammie Clarke Gibbs published in June of 2012 and "Interviews with Indie Authors" by Tim and Claire Ridgway published in July of 2012.