Like Death: Tim Waggoner
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Print Length: 346 pages
- Publisher: Apex Publications (November 14, 2011)
“It doesn’t work; the screams come through just fine.”
What could’ve been.
This is my second Waggoner book, after his most recent ‘They Kill,’ and while I enjoyed that read, I found it was a bit jumbled in a few spots.
‘Like Death’ has a great synopsis but once I started reading it, I just couldn’t get by the initial issues.
We follow our main character Scott, a true-crime writer, who is investigating the disappearance of a 6-year-old girl from a small town. When Scott was a child, his family was brutally murdered while he hid. While Scott is investigating the disappearance, we also find out he is trying to reconcile with his wife and young son.
As I said – the synopsis is a bit misleading.
It says Scott meets a woman who may have a connection to the missing girl.
The problems I came across that I couldn’t get over are pretty straight forward.
Scott is pushing 50, the ‘woman’ he meets is introduced to us as Lolita. Described as approximately 16 years old, not wearing a bra and this man immediately wants to nail her. It’s all he thinks about. How she smells, how her shorts fit etc. Hell, he drives slowly back around to where he first saw her several times, just hoping to catch a glimpse. At the same time, he’s trying to decide if he wants to nail the older lady who lives in the same complex he now lives at.
Then we find out the kicker.
Scott’s an alcoholic and his wife and son left because he got drunk and assaulted them.
I just couldn’t get over that. I’m not a proponent of domestic violence.
No matter how redeeming Waggoner tried to make Scott and no matter how dark the story got and tried to sum up why Scott is how he is and how dark things were on the ‘other side,’ I just couldn’t get beyond that.
The writing is great and Waggoner does dark like nobody else, but for me, I just hated Scott so much and wished that things started off on the other foot.
There are no words for it. Ecstasy is laughably inadequate, as are rapture, euphoria, bliss . . . . Ugly, harsh syllables that come nowhere near capturing the merest fraction of what he feels. The experience is primal and transcendent, like birth, like death.
Scott Raymond lost his parents in a bloodbath when he was only nine years old, but despite the occasional headaches and hallucinations, he’s managed to turn that trauma into moderate success as a true crime writer. The success doesn’t extend to keeping up the relationship with his estranged wife and son, however. Hoping to regain a sense of normal family life, he follows them to Ash Creek, Ohio under the pretense of writing a new book about a missing six-year-old girl.
There, he encounters a young woman who shares the missing girl’s name. She leads Scott into a world of psychotropic spiders, shark-toothed teenagers, and the expression of nearly every dark desire. Fear and fascination lay equal claim as the nightmare fantasies of this realm bleed into Scott’s daily life and his attempts to maintain a relationship with his son.
Soon, he will need to use this world of cruelty and pain to face his past, his future, and what his life might have become. If he fails, it is only a matter of time before the nightmare that bloodied his childhood will reach out to ensnare his own son.
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Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, and the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun.
On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will arrive. This release was specifically created to help fund the 1st 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
You can visit Steve’s Official website here