Ten Years Gone: H.P. Newquist
Reviewed By Steve Stred
‘Behemoth’ was my introduction to H.P. Newquist.
A book about a small town that knows they have a massive creature that comes out at night and walks the streets, really took me by surprise and is a book I frequently recommend.
Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of reading a few of Newquist’s non-fiction works (which are all fantastic) and have been patiently awaiting his next fiction release. Recently, he contacted me to see if I’d be keen to read an upcoming book of his; ‘Ten Years Gone.’ He said, ‘If you’d like a copy, let me know, but I have to warn you, it’s not a horror book.’
No problem. I was interested in seeing how he’d tackle this book, which he said was close to a crime thriller. After reading it, I’d say it was a crime fiction/psychological thriller, but genre labels are always tough with dark fiction.
What I liked: The story is set in a small town, where on November 21st for the past nine years, the body of a dead teenager has been discovered. On a nearby tree, the officers have found 1/10, 2/10, 3/10 up until last year – 9/10. Which means, this year will be the final year, the final killing. But can they find the killer first before it happens?
Newquist pits two rivals – the retired detective who still researches the case against a pseudo-celebrity investigative journalist who wants to create a documentary on the events. The back and forth between the detective and the journalist was fantastic and as the story progresses the tensions mount.
I loved, loved, the short snappy chapters, the quick bits that move the story along but also leave a little bit dangling, a little bit unknown.
And the chapters that feature ‘The Thing,’ the killer as they prepare, were superb.
I really enjoyed how the small town came to life, how some embraced the arrival of the outside attention, while others hated it and wanted it gone.
The ending was great, and the epilogue left the door open for a possible further entry in this town.
What I didn’t like: I think I would’ve liked to have seen a bit more of ‘The Thing’ and the why. We learn the ‘why’ but I don’t know if I fully embraced it because of the throwaway moment it is shared and occurs.
Why you should buy this: This was an outstanding read. If you loved ‘Come With Me’ by Ronald Malfi or ‘The Killing Circle’ by Andrew Pyper, I can’t recommend this one enough. Filled with tension, intrigue and the reality that soon, another body will be found, you’ll be flipping the pages as fast as you can.
Outstanding work, once again.
Ten Years Gone
Every November for nearly a decade, a body has been found hanging from a tree outside the town of Kerrville.
As the tenth year approaches, the killer leaves clues that indicate there will only be one more murder.
A reality show and its celebrity host decide that this last murder could be the ratings they’ve always wanted–and they are determined to find the murderer before the police do.
But the police–and the killer–think that is a very, very bad idea.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak fiction.
Steve is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve has appeared alongside some of Horror’s heaviest hitters (Tim Lebbon, Gemma Amor, Adrian J. Walker, Ramsey Campbell) in some fantastic anthologies.
He is an active member of the HWA.
He is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife and son.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
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