The Cave: Ksenia Murray
Reviewed By Steve Stred
After having read Ksenia’s newest collection, ‘Compendium of Creatures,’ I snagged her novella ‘The Cave’ and dove in.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than this sounded right up my alley.
A story about a young woman who goes on a hike and discovers something odd. Perfect.
What I liked: The story follows Trish, struggling with the reality that her beloved Grandfather has died. She doesn’t get along with her mother and now, feeling alone, decides to go on the hike her and her Grandfather had been planning.
The story itself is part soul-searching, part claustrophobic thriller. As with most dark fiction stories centered on a hike, things go sideways quickly and we soon find Trish in a survive-at-all-costs scenario.
I really rooted for Trish, I wanted to see her survive, discover what was happening, what the pull was and ultimately what was behind that voice.
The story does a great job at examining dysfunctional family relationships, while also acting as an ode to nature. These two worked well together and I think for me, was the highlight of the story itself.
What I didn’t like: The pacing of this book sometimes felt off. I can’t put my finger on it, as Murray created tension and intrigue, but for a book that is roughly 140 pages long, I’d normally read this in a single sitting, but found myself at times struggling to get back into parts of it.
Why you should buy this: If you’re looking for a different take on survival/something in the woods, look no further. This had some really creepy scenes and some truly unsettling moments and Trish was a great lead character.
Trish Boreanaz lost everything when her grandpa died – her girlfriend, job, and mental health. After the funeral, she goes on a soul-searching hiking expedition by herself in remembrance of her grandfather. While on the trip, Trish suffers an accident that barely leaves her alive. She finds shelter in a cave deep in the woods. What Trish experiences in The Cave will haunt her forever. Trish is on a mission to prove to the world that she isn’t just the crazy lunatic that her parents believe she is, but that what she went through is real. She will stop at nothing to fix her life and save her soul.
Will Trish be able to prove to her parents that just because she has schizophrenia doesn’t mean that she is making everything up? Will Trish be able to protect everyone around her from herself? This novel will delve into the world of mental health, the connotations that come with it, and one woman’s fight to live.
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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