Altar: Philip Fracassi
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I recently read Fracassi’s ‘The Rejects,’ a fantastic short story about a secret hidden deep below the moon’s surface. It was when I was done reading it that my Kindle reminded me I had ‘Altar’ from him as well.
So, I jumped on it a soon as I could.
The story itself is pretty straight forward and simple. We get to see a group of random people who head to a community pool on a hot day. Kids and adults mingle and the normal interactions in that scenario occur. It isn’t until the end of the story that things take a drastic turn.
What I liked: I enjoyed seeing the mundane happenings of the characters. Fracassi lets them breathe a bit, lets them become real characters to the reader. I really enjoyed the ending, but in order to keep it spoiler-free, I can’t really comment too much on that. I also enjoyed the feeling of knowing ‘something’ was going to happen. You just knew it from the beginning and Fracassi created a really sneaky sense of tension as the story went on.
What I didn’t like: I found that while I did enjoy the creeping tension and the feeling that something was coming, I felt like it took far too long for the faeces to hit the fan, if you will. The ending came and went and it was over and done with. I would’ve loved the final moments of the story to have taken up more pages, but that’s my take.
Why you should buy this: As I said before – Fracassi is such a great storyteller. This one sits and steams on the kitchen stove as this goes along. You know that the story is going to eventually come to a boil and when it does, wow does it deliver some devastation!
This is a quick read, single sitting and I think it would make a great entry point for people who’ve never read any of his work.
The nostalgia of a child’s summer afternoon can be intoxicating. Tinkling ice cream trucks, games in the yard, young love, swimming pools. For one young boy and his family, days like these can be heaven.
Like any dream, however, things can change. Heavens can fall into darkness, games turn deadly, love become hate. And the seemingly safest places of our world – filled with that sweet, sky-blue nostalgia – can curdle and implode, tearing the dream, and those caught inside it, to shreds.
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.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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