Husk: Rachel Autumn Deering
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Paperback: 102 pages
- Publisher: Tiny Behemoth Press; (March 5, 2016)
“Kevin Brooks had tasted blood before, but not quite like this.”
Husk is a novella that packs a massive wallop. It’s as close to un-put-downable as you can get.
The story follows Kevin as he returns from Afghanistan, another soldier surrendering to the reality of PTSD. What he’s experienced over there is only compounded by finding out his coverage is being declined due to a dependency issue and now he’s returning to his childhood home. A home that feels foreign to him after his grandma and grandpa have both passed on.
Deering writes some of the most beautiful, lush passages filled with realistic sensations and nightmare allusions. I was constantly transported directly into the location as she described Kevin opening the door to the house and even when he sat in his grandpas old lazy-boy chair and the scents and memories flooded back.
“He knew the house would be empty, and he dreaded facing all that nothing.”
As Kevin begins to get the house in living order, Deering interjects our main characters return to normalcy with an odd creature making its presence known and the arrival of Samantha, the preacher’s daughter who lives just over the hill.
I found an unexpected erotic/sex fantasy incredibly jarring. The scene itself was well written but I just didn’t feel like it fit the rest of the story and it just felt like it went on a bit long. I’m no prude but I could see that being a skim over scene for those of you out there that haven’t watched as much crazy stuff online as I have.
The ending of the story is fantastic and it followed the narrative of the wounded soldier in a horrific fashion. I expected things to go the way they did, but Deering made you root for the characters really quickly, which is a kudos to her and her writing chops – accomplishing that in such a short period of time.
As for the character Samantha – the way her dialogue was written, I couldn’t picture anyone else other than Anna Paquin’s portrayal of Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood. As much as this mental picture annoyed me, she was a sweet character and I chuckled at how I saw her in my head.
Deering wrote a really dark story and one that I wished I hadn’t had so far down in my TBR. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘southern-charm’ aspects she based the story around and by doing that, she’s created a timeless horror novella.
Definitely give this one a spin if you want a dark fiction read that is superbly written.
In this all-too-real work of horror fiction, Rachel Autumn Deering explores the mind of a young man who is struggling to cope with the effects of post-war stress, drug addiction, self-doubt, and loneliness as they manifest themselves into his deepest, darkest fears.
Kevin Brooks returns to his rural Kentucky hometown after a three-year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan. He has lost the grandparents who raised him, his lifelong best friend, and his trust in the government he once proudly served. When Kevin meets a kind, young girl named Samantha, he thinks his luck might have finally taken a turn for the better. But something else has its eye on Kevin. Something dark and brooding and mean. Something that knows Kevin better than he knows himself.
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