The Deception Of Kathryn Vask: Mark Steensland
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I’ve had the pleasure of reading three of Mark’s co-authored works, two with James Newman and one with Charles Coylott, so I was excited to see what he’d dreamed up with this Broadway play.
Unfortunately, I was completely thrown off when I realized upon opening the file, that this was, in fact, a straight script! I had believed I was reading a novelization of his play! Well, once that initial shock wore off, I dove in, curious to see what I was in for. (KR: This misunderstanding was entirely my fault, I didn’t let Steve know about the format. Sorry Steve)
What I liked: As mentioned, this is a playbill (I hope that’s the correct term!). We are given the cast list at the start and a description of the single location all of the events occur at. I needed to Google upstage right and left and downstage right and left to make sure I was picturing things accurately. Steensland then gives us a story involving grief and deception (hence the title, come on, don’t fall behind) which is completely dialogue-driven. I loved the back and forth’s and the easy banter between some characters and as things unravel, there is definitely some high drama that leaps off the page.
What I didn’t like: While I enjoyed this read, for those not expecting a script it will be completely off-putting and may result in some people ignoring it completely. I had trouble’s at the start keeping it straight who was who, but that wasn’t any different from other books when you dive in with an ensemble cast.
Why you should buy it: If you are a writer and want to improve your dialogue game, this should be a treasured resource. To be able to create and drive tension and emotions with purely words and almost no physical action was incredibly impressive. Plus, Steensland is a heck of a writer! If you’ve not checked out the rest of his stuff, I highly recommend it!
The Deception Of Kathryn Vask
Blaming herself for her son’s death in an accident, a grief-stricken woman wants to hold a séance to get his forgiveness from beyond the grave. But when her husband conspires with the family pastor to hire actors and fake the proceedings, things don’t go as planned…or do they?
THE DECEPTION OF KATHRYN VASK is a tightly-woven thriller that follows in the twisty footsteps of Ira Levin’s DEATHTRAP and Anthony Shaffer’s SLEUTH.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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