This book is a bit small town cult, a bit cosmic horror/Lovecraftian, and a lot character-driven. That is a lot to pack into one book, especially a horror novel with a lot of action in it!
The beginning of this book is flawless: a perfect introduction to each of the main characters ending with a bit of a wild confrontation that then segues back into how all this started. I thought it was great and I was completely invested.
I was not completely captivated by the writing style, which felt a bit under-baked at times and didn't hook me into the story the way that I generally expect a character-driven story to read. I think the narrative could have done with a bit more development along those lines. I also wanted to see more of the town and its inhabitants—I wish we could have spent more time there before we really knew what was going on. It would have been a great way to build tension.
A little ways into the narrative a female joins the male trio of main characters, and I never really understood why she was involved in the narrative. She felt under-used and unexplored as a character, just sort of tacked on to scenes, and she could have easily been replaced with one of the other characters throughout. I wish that she had mattered more, and her character had been developed further.
By the end of the book, I think I was speed-reading, really needing to see how it was going to turn out. So Hayward knows how to turn up the heat for the climax of the book and it speeds along with plenty of gory description!
I think I've said this before, but I find it a real bummer to read Sinister Grin titles for pure aesthetic reasons. Their covers are great, but the interior design of their books leaves much to be desired. They basically look like manuscripts set on the page, double-spaced (too much space between lines for a novel), and with little attention paid to how the page is laid out. I also consistently find punctuation, style, and other types of errors in their books that would easily be caught by a proofreader. These things don't have any bearing on what I think of the work itself, but it is definitely distracting to read. Hopefully interior design and typesetting will become a more important part of their process as they move forward with publishing, as they have so many good authors and stories to promote.
My thanks to Sinister Grin Press for sending me this one to read and review.
Associate editor, amateur photdographer, bibliophile, and occasional sleuth.