Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).
Review: Horror is not a genre I read often. And maybe that’s why at the end of this book I was thinking…What did I just read? I’m starting to think that question is one I will always ask at the end of a horror novel. Because I did at the end of N0S4A2 by Joe Hill. And The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. And pretty much after every horror movie I’ve ever watched (which is actually a LOT considering I don’t read a lot of horror – thanks stepdad #2 for dragging me and my young impressionable brain to drive-ins to see every horror movie made in the 70’s and 80’s). But it isn’t a bad “What did I just read?” It’s more of a contemplative, “this is compelling and I can’t stop thinking about it, but what is it really about” kind of thing. And I love books that make me question, make me think, that keep my brain whirring into the wee hours (I’m up anyway).
Now, I imagine there are subgenres of horror, and naturally I know nothing about them. But for me, this was almost absurdist. It isn’t the kind of horror that hits so close to home that you obsessively check to see if your doors are locked and sleep with the lights on for three weeks straight. It’s the kind of horror that brings the impossible to life in a grotesque and nightmarish kind of way. And I think it is that sense of impossibility, the fact that it strays so far from what most of us can imagine, that makes it somewhat absurdist in nature.
In the first few chapters, before I got to the more bizarre bits, I thought it felt like some Dean Koontz novels I’ve read (and I’m a big Koontz fan). Once it got to the more grotesque imagery, I immediately thought of Stephen King’s Creepshow, the movie, and even better…the comic book/graphic novel (which was utterly amazing, and which I read so many times I’m amazed it didn’t fall to pieces). In fact, I paused to find images of the comic book online so that I could enjoy it once more, and then returned to the book thinking – this needs more pictures. I would LOVE to see this book as a graphic novel. I’d buy it and read the crap out of it. Seriously.
The writing was good. The characters were intriguing, as was the storyline. The style was different. Not in a bad way, but it reminded me of something else that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I’m struggling to find the words to properly describe it. It was very matter of fact, unemotional, a little removed. But that doesn’t quite explain it either. The voice in this book is quite distinct, and it threw me at first, but ultimately I loved it. It just felt right.
Another thing worth noting it is does jump around in time, back and forth between then and now, and it can be a bit confusing at times, but it works.
I suspect I would do this book more justice if I were a horror aficionado, but as that is not the case, all I can say is: despite not being a self-proclaimed horror fan, I really enjoyed this book. It was entertaining, thought-provoking, well-developed, and made me nostalgic for similar works I enjoyed in my youth.
I’d definitely recommend it.