Howl: Renee Miller
Reviewed By Steve Stred
I recently cruised through the fantastic ‘Church’ by Renee Miller and knowing I had ‘Howl’ as well, I was excited to be able to return to her worlds and see just what she’d created for me.
I grabbed a few of her Unnerving releases as a thanks to Eddie, after he sent me some chapbooks to review. Wow, did I get a good deal out of that! Some amazing chapbooks mailed AND purchased, what has turned out, to be some stunning reads!
What I liked: ‘Howl’ was a book I went into blind. I presumed we’d be dealing with a creature, most likely a wolf, but I didn’t care. If Renee was writing it, blood would be shed.
We follow three work friends, trying to follow their shoddy GPS to find their hotel, only for the truck to run out of gas. They decide, as we always expect in these books, that the best course of action is to cut through the woods as a short cut. Insert an eye roll emoji. COME ON! We know it’s a ridiculous decision, but as the reader, ohhhhh baby! I was frantically rubbing my hands… because… wait for it… wait for it…. there! A HOWL! A HOWL SOUNDS THROUGH THE WOODS AS… wait for it… wait for it… there! GOOD LORD THE SNOW HAS STARTED TO FALL!
Once the snow falls and the beast howls, Miller makes sure to use the entire budget on blood, as dark, hairy things come crashing from the trees and eviscerate one and all. This, at times, gave me eerie reminders of ‘Skinner’ by David Bernstein.
A battle to survive while the survivors beg and plead with each other to kill them before they get killed. Fantastic.
What I didn’t like: Jesus, this had everything. If you were worried that it was going to be a survival story with a PG13 rating, the final act destroyed that. The only thing I can think of that stuck with me, was when friend #1 is taken (and to prevent spoilers I’m not naming them) the other two seem to move on quickly from his disappearance.
Why you should buy it: Do you like mysterious killing beasts hunting humans trying to survive? Well get on this! Winter survival? A live at all costs mentality?
Miller definitely brought all of the above in truck loads. This was a fun, quick, single-sitting read that had me excited to turn each and every page. I highly recommend this if you need some gore in your dark soul!
Three friends, an empty fuel tank, a desolate dirt road, and a hike through the woods in the middle of a snow storm; what could go wrong?
A mysterious beast stalks Fred and his friends through the snow, forcing them to seek shelter with two strangers in a remote cabin.
And so begins a waiting game. Food dwindles, tempers flare, and survival of the fittest becomes more than just a saying as the beast closes in.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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