Everything Is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here: Michael Wehunt
Reviewed by Steve Stred
“It would leave the town in muted and blessed darkness.”
Michael Wehunt returns with a devastating novella that is unfortunately all too topical. I loved his collection ‘Greener Pastures’ and when I saw him announce a follow-up release, I was beyond excited. Wehunt is a super technical writer that is incredibly accessible to read. It makes for such a pleasant experience knowing you’re being immersed in such beauty but able to follow along and comprehend every little nuance.
KR: You can read the Kendall Review for Greener Pastures HERE
‘Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here,’ was released in conjunction with Nightscape Press Charitable Chapbooks line, which means a portion of all proceeds will be going to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.
That last line really is key to the narrative that runs throughout ‘Everything…’
The story is haunting, unsettling and visceral. The closest thing I’ve come to reading something similar was ‘Revolver’ by Michael Patrick Hicks.
We are introduced to a small town; low population, everyone knows everyone and for the most part, people don’t lock their doors at night. But the waves of change have reached even small-town America. A seemingly peaceful event is happening and then, as is all too frequent in the news – shots ring out.
From there Wehunt gives us an amazing look into the ghosts that live inside some people, but also, how as much as we want to think we know our family, at times they too can feel like strangers.
I read this in one sitting and found my emotions fluctuated from paragraph to paragraph, page to page. We live in troubling times, often caught between speaking up about wrongs or keeping the peace when it comes to family.
Much like ‘Revolver’ with Hicks, I see this release being fairly polarizing to some in the horror world. Often times we see reviews or comments wishing that writers leave politics out of their work – but much like music and poetry, writing often shines during times of political unrest and deep hurt within the population. I think Wehunt created a perfect time capsule of what we’re experiencing now, but also a timeless piece – this could be from the 50’s, 60’s 70’s or any other decade leading up to present day.
This is an absolute must-read – ticking off all of the boxes that Wehunt is known for, but also that horror embraces. You’ll feel this book for a long time after reading it. I finished this last night and some of the more traditional horror moments visited me in my dreams, something that very rarely happens.
Everything Is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here
Forty percent of all sales of this eBook will go to support the Southern Poverty Law Center! The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.
This is a ghost story. It has those that scratch at bedroom doors and tap at windows, wanting to be let in. It has those that haunt all of us, long after the others tire of the scratching. For some, doors are not enough.
Bea Holcombe loves her life in Fontaine Falls, a perfect little town tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. She has never thought to question that love until her next-door neighbor opens fire on a crowd of black demonstrators gathered in the city park to protest the town’s Confederate statue. Lester Neal has torn open an invisible wound in Fontaine Falls, and what festers inside of it will change Bea, her family, and the dimming mind of her mother forever.
As the national media descends and violence spreads, the town endures a conflict it is no longer insulated from. Bea is given a special sight so that she may witness how deep the rot has burrowed inside the postcard charm of Fontaine Falls. And she will be asked to turn the light of scrutiny and complicity upon herself as she is visited by horrors that won’t rest quietly. “This is a ghost story,” she tells us repeatedly. This unflinching, poetic novella is an examination of that claim—its layers of truth, of untruth, and the uneasy specters that inhabit modern America.
You can buy Everything Is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here from Nightscape Press
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