Your Frightful Spirit Stayed: Matthew Cash
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Recently, I connected with Matthew Cash aka Matty Bob Cash and through that he kindly sent me an advanced copy of his next release ‘Your Frightful Spirit Stayed.’
I was intrigued by the synopsis, of something possibly chasing our main character, so I agreed and dove in.
I typically don’t discuss content elements in great detail as it can fall into spoiler territory, but I want to say up front – this book focuses on the horrific trauma that our main character suffered when he was kidnapped and assaulted – physically and sexually. If that’s a trigger for yourself, I’d suggest you’ll want to pass on this one.
What I liked: ‘Your Frightful Spirit Stayed’ is one of the most depressing books I’ve read in some time. We follow Charlie, an out of shape shop manager who is haunted by events in his childhood. He has grown distant from his wife and struggles to have a relationship with his son, all the while catching fleeting glimpses and smelling familiar smells that bring him back to a time and place he long wishes he could forget.
Cash doesn’t hold back with this book. Nothing good happens. Even when Charlie heads to a school reunion, laughs are shared but quickly become replaced with tears and soiled memories. I loved that we got to see how the events that happened so many years ago had weaved through their lives and affected them in so many different areas and ways.
What I didn’t like: While overall I enjoyed this book, I struggled with the layout or format of the order of events, until the afterword. Once I read what Cash was attempting to do, it made sense, but while trying to read it I often thought things should’ve been ordered differently. As well, I found it took far too long at the start to really get to the meat and the potatoes of the story. Random events happened at the start that could have easily been left out and we could have arrived at the strength of the story, which was Charlie and his connection with this group of friends.
As well, I think if the events would’ve happened earlier in the book, Charlie’s actions and decisions would’ve made a lot more sense later on.
Why you should buy this: Matthew Cash has written one of the bleakest, depressing stories that I’ve come across in some time, which really works for this story. It never dips in a ray of sunshine. Even when things look to be going well and just maybe the sun will break through the clouds, something happens to slam the door shut and the characters are elevated because of this.
This book will be hit or miss for readers. If you’re a fan of his work, I suspect you’ll absolutely love this one and the characters are really well done. If you’ve not read him before, definitely consider where you are headspace wise so that you don’t dive in and realize that this is far darker story than you’re able to handle at the moment.
Overall; darker than dark.
Your Frightful Spirit Stayed
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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