{Book Review} Higher Learning: Renee Miller

Higher Learning: Renee Miller

Reviewed By Steve Stred

  • Paperback: 20 pages
  • Publisher: Unnerving (06 May 2019)

Higher Learning is the last of four chapbooks Eddie Generous and Unnerving sent me for review and in this quick tale (20 pages) Renee is able to accomplish something really rare. She packs a ton of creepy slow burn into 17 pages and then delivers the knockout punch at the end.

The story follows residents as they bring their kids to the first day of school. Today though is different as a brand new school has been built, spearheaded by a mysterious benefactor who is new to town.

As such little is known about the school and as an immediate and unsettling change takes place with the children, the parents begin to grow suspicious. Just what exactly is happening to their kids?

Miller then delivers some unique twists and keeps the ball rolling towards the ultimate finale which is padded with some dashes of back story. I really enjoyed that we found a tiny little bit out about where the story came from and was then led into some serious questions about where the characters would end up going post-story.

This would be a world I’d love to see expanded upon, either this story itself or if Miller were to carry on and continue down the road and we’d find ourselves picking up where it was left off.

For such a quick read we get a sprinkle of everything that makes horror and thrillers great and you’ll feel like you read a 300 page novel in 20 pages.

Star Rating (out of 5): 5*

Higher Learning

A new school and a new principal has everyone in Maisie Davis’s small town excited. The thrill fades as their children start acting like studious, obedient robots who would rather kill than miss a single day of class.

You can buy a signed and numbered edition of Higher Learning from Unnerving

Steve Stred

Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.

Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas 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, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.

On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.

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

The Stranger

Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?

Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.

Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?

But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.

While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.

The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.

The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.

Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.



Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.

But what if it’s not…

What if there is something out there?

The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”

With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.

Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.

Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…



The Stranger. 

You can buy The Stranger from Amazon UK Amazon US

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