Starving Ghosts In Every Thread: Eric LaRocca
Reviewed By A.S. MacKenzie
There are a few times when I’m reading a new story that I become more entranced with the writing prowess than the story. This was one of them. But, let me quickly say that this wasn’t due to the lack of an interesting story.
The story centers from the viewpoint of a young woman who has a decidedly unique problem in her life in that she eats emotions and her skin comes off in threads of their own will that only people who she has fed off of can see. Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either. We first meet her as she eats the emotions of a young boy who dropped a jar in the same aisle of the grocery store where she was working to stack shelves. From here, we are given the understanding of what it is she can do, but with no explanation as to why.
For some, this kind of jarring opening, even in a novella, can be a little off-putting, but that is when we return to the writing itself. Teddy, the main character, is given such a distinct voice in the first few pages that we are truly seeing the world through her eyes. When she interacts with others, their voices are just as unique and nuanced so as to give clear distinction. The descriptions, from a first-person perspective, are detailed but not overly, with just the right balance of show. I found myself reading and rereading the words to get all the nuances of Eric’s style.
The story is horror, but also not. It is in that there is someone who can see emotions and eat them while also commanding strips of skin to do as she wishes. But, it also is a story of personal discovery by a character who needs to connect to something in this world and finds pain, hope, and sorrow. It is a beautiful story, wonderfully and skillfully written. I firmly believe that anyone inside or outside the horror genre would find this story appealing.
Starving Ghosts In Every Thread
Teddy has a secret.
She’s so consumed with guilt that it compels her body to literally unravel unless she feeds off the emotions of others.
Teddy’s parasitic condition is usually tempered easily and is invisible to most, unless she feeds from them. However, her insatiable hunger has already begun to threaten her safety. Trapped in her tiny Connecticut hometown thanks to a careless mistake which cost her a prestigious scholarship, Teddy grieves her father’s death and cares for her neurotic mother, Mercy, who is convinced scorpion venom is the only remedy for her own peculiar skin ailment linked to her daughter’s sadness.
Once an aspiring songwriter, Teddy now merely alternates between shifts at the local market and visits to the house of her eccentric neighbor, Mr. Ridley, for fresh scorpions to bring to her mother. It’s during one of her routine visits to Mr. Ridley’s subterranean grotto of exotic animals that Teddy meets an unusual young girl named Kiiara. Immediately enamored with one another, Teddy soon discovers that Kiiara is hiding a gruesome secret, too – a secret that will threaten to undo everything Teddy has ever known and loved, and violently touch all those who cross their path with disaster.
A. S. MacKenzie
A. S. MacKenzie is an Atlanta based author who loves all things books, movies, games, and comics. He lives with his wife, spoiled dogs, and an unhealthy obsession with building things. He can be found building worlds in books, building plastic models, or building with wood. Check out his website at asmackenzie.com for ways to join his newsletter and read free stories. Also, he’s been known to frequent Twitter (@a_s_mackenzie) to say something vaguely interesting and Instagram (a.s.mackenzie) for food, travel, and random pics.