Title: Kill Creek
Author: Scott Thomas
Date of Publication: October 31, 2017
World-renowned horror author Sam McGarver has writer’s block. He hasn’t written anything in two years. So when he’s mysteriously invited to spend Halloween at an allegedly haunted house, he figures he has nothing to lose. When he gets there, he discovers that the reporter who invited him, infamous Wainwright of the website “WrightWire”, actually invited three other horror authors as well. All four of them write completely different types of horror, yet they’re all brought to the house for a group interview as a publicity stunt to increase sales of their future books. But when the sun goes down strange things start to happen in the house, and Sam starts to wonder—what if this house really is haunted?
Kill Creek brings Gothic horror into the modern era. In the very first chapter, Sam McGarver, who is also a professor at the university, gives a lecture on the elements of true Gothic horror. It did not go over my head that this book addresses all of these key components. The house on Kill Creek has a tragic, mysterious history that Thomas shares with the reader in the very prologue of the book. This sets the stage for the disturbing events that follow…
Kill Creek is not for the faint of heart! That said, I recommend it to everyone. Sure, those of you who scare easily might hate me for it, but I really think this book has something for everyone. It fully encompasses the four appeal elements that I learned about in readers’ advisory in library school—plot, character, language, and setting. I will address all four categories below:
Kill Creek has a compelling writing style. The words seem to flow off the page. It brings the Gothic style into the twenty-first century. Readers who carefully select their books based on the language used will not be disappointed!
The setting is a character of its own, which you find in a lot of great literature. Thomas develops the house not just through describing its history, but by providing rich detail as the story progresses. He attributes anthropomorphic characteristics to the house, which not only adds to the horror, but emphasizes that, in this case, the house is a character just as important as any of the people exploring it.
All four of the horror authors are completely different people, with their tragic pasts and personality quirks, which Thomas eloquently draws out and develops throughout the novel. While the main character is Sam McGarver, Thomas creates three-dimensional secondary and tertiary characters that are relatable and interesting.
The plot itself is quite fast-paced, unique, and intriguing. Don’t ask me how Thomas managed to create a detailed setting, value language through description, develop intricately woven characters, and keep the plot moving quickly. Thomas is a talented writer, and I will definitely be reading more of his work in the near future!
Since I shouldn’t technically recommend this book to “everyone”, I’m recommending it to anyone who wants to read a spooky book this Halloween. I recommend it to anyone who isn’t too squeamish, and anyone who won’t hold me personally responsible for any nightmares they might (will likely) have.
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