The Nothing That Is: Kyle Winkler
Reviewed By Steve Stred
No matter my thoughts on this book (and upfront, I really enjoyed this), ultimately I felt incredibly proud to read Kyle Winkler’s debut novella ‘The Nothing That Is.’
Kyle messaged me a while back on Twitter, asking a few questions about taking his idea from an idea to a release, and while I played a 1% role in this thing coming to fruition, it just fills me with so much pride to know that Kyle stuck with it and released it.
And you know what?
It’s really, really good.
What I liked: Don’t be fooled by the description. Some people will read this and think that it’s going to fall into the Bizarro scope of stories, but this quick, brutal read wears its influences on its sleeve and this story itself wouldn’t be out of place in a Stephen King collection.
Cade is an assistant manager at a catering company. His boss sucks, but overall he enjoys his job and his coworkers, while still dreaming of the belief that one day he’ll open his own business.
A strange event at the graveyard, followed by an even stranger message leads Cade into a macabre world where he meets Mr. Dinosaur.
For a debut, this is a very solid effort. The writing is strong and the plot moves along swiftly and confidently. Added by Erin Al-Mehairi’s deft editing, Winkler crafted a story that is brutal, bleak and dark. I loved the back story and having his coworker aid him in digging up more about what just might be happening was a great touch.
This has a very Twilight Zone/The X-Files feel to it, which worked really well in keeping the reader engaged and wondering just when the boot was about to drop or the floor would disappear from under our main characters.
What I didn’t like: There were two minor things here. The first was the subplot about embezzlement didn’t really do anything for me and I’m not that sure it was needed. The second was the ending segued into a bit of an epilogue and I had hoped to learn more about the final group we are introduced to. I did enjoy the epilogue of how things affected Cade but wished it had been a smidge more.
Why you should buy this: As I mentioned, this is an incredibly strong debut novella and Winkler has done his due diligence with a great cover, fantastic editor and a stunning layout. Best part – the story matches the package. This thing hummed along and made for a really intriguing read. Big congrats to Kyle on this, one I hope many people snag and devour. We need to make Mr. Dinosaur happy after all.
The Nothing That Is
It’s 1986. Cade McCall is an assistant manager for a catering business. Driving to work one morning, part of the local graveyard explodes. Later the same day, Cade gets an odd message from a client who needs catering for an Extreme Food Club. He calls himself Mr. Dinosaur. And he’s paying $11,000. Despite Cade’s reservations, he takes the gig. Although, who’s feeding whom is another question entirely…Involving female biker gangs, cults, possessed furniture, and a full dose of cosmic horror, The Nothing That Is serves up the weird.
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.
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