Beyond The Creek: Nico Bell
Reviewed By Steve Stred
My first experience reading Nico Bell’s work was her entry into Unnerving’s Rewind or Die Series. ‘Food Fright’ was an 80’s based slasher where things get out of hand and people get salamied by insane creatures. Not only was it a blast, but it made me excited to see what else Bell would be releasing in the future.
When ‘Beyond the Creek’ was offered for review, I’d already seen the cover art and jumped at the chance, knowing I’d be in for a dark – if not fun – ride.
All I really knew going in was that it involved somebody being hired as a caretaker and an ancient evil threatening their safety. Boy was that accurate.
What I liked: The story follows a young woman, Alex, who has escaped an abusive relationship. She now finds herself starting over, and pregnant, but trying to find a glimmer of hope to make it through these dark moments.
When she applies for a job as a caretaker for a family, Peter, the grandfather, having had a stroke, she has no idea just what she’s in for.
Bell teases some of the darkness to come, letting us know that there are rumors about the house, the people, but for the most part they’re shrugged off as small town word of mouth, amplified by a gossipy game of telephone.
Alex doesn’t give it any thought and relishes seeing Peter recover. Bell does a great job of making Alex a solid character and how she’s focused completely on helping Peter, but also setting herself up for a future for herself and her soon to be born child.
The dark secret is an interesting one, and one that will be exceedingly creepier if that specific thing scares you, which will be fun to discover when you get there. And the way the (what I’ll call) the initial ending plays out was really well done.
What I didn’t like: When Alex arrives, she meets Helen and Jai, the woman who rents her the house and her wife. I found it a bit odd how fast Alex came to trust these two women, just based on her background and her being on the run from an abusive boyfriend. As well, the secondary ending/epilogue felt a bit like it was tacked on to wrap up a storyline. I think I’d have preferred it to have been not mentioned and left as a sequel option to further flesh it out.
Lastly, and I don’t want this to come off as me complaining about this story (as I really had a blast with it) but I found that I did have some difficulty with suspension of belief when it came to Alex. When the climactic scene arrives, she’s 7 months pregnant and moving and leaping/being beat up like she’s a professional Hollywood stunt actor!
Why you should buy this: This was a super fun, fast read that had me engaged from page one. Bell starts off by setting up some creepy events and then ramping those up by about a million percent. Alex is a great character and it has been a bit since I’ve read something where a pregnant woman is the main character, which I really enjoyed. Bell delivered another well done romp with some new insanity that rips and shreds.
Beyond The Creek
When Alex Foster accepted the caregiver position with the eccentric Nox family, she was issued a single rule.
Don’t wander past the creek.
Alex isn’t interested in exploring the Nox’s vast wooded property. After escaping an abusive past, her sole focus is building a safe future for herself and her unborn baby. Except, a series of chilling events threatens her happily-ever-after.
Now, she must fight to survive an ancient evil before all hope is lost.
There’s something beyond the creek, and it’s hungry.
You can buy Beyond The Creek from Godless
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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