They Live – Tim Waggoner
Reviewed by Steve Stred
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Flame Tree Press (11 July 2019)
“Even in her darkest moment, she was still capable of love.”
I’m a bit ashamed to admit this is my first Tim Waggoner read. I have a bunch of his books on my TBR but just haven’t arrived at them yet. I was kindly approved for an ARC of this through Flametree over on Netgalley and slotted it in to read and review for what I thought was an August release date.
Then I realized I’d confused it with Hellrider and saw that it, in fact, had an end of July release!
So I bumped it way up and dove in.
At its heart ‘They Kill’ has an amazing story about loss, grief and the depths of despair people suffer when dealing with the death of a loved one. In this case, Waggoner delivered two such tales of suffering; Sierra & Marc. Jeffrey was killed in a horrific car crash one year ago. Brother to Sierra, significant other to Marc, now the two of them wake up on his anniversary and try and figure out how to get through the day.
I really felt that this plot point would have been the basis of the entire story and if it had been, I think I would have eaten this book up. Seriously – stop and think; if your most loved person in this world unexpectedly died – and then one year later you see them walking down the street, how would you respond?
Unfortunately for me, the book itself started off on the wrong foot. I was hoping it would change, heck I even tweeted about digging it at 20%, but that was right as we were really getting the back story of Sierra, Marc & Jeffrey.
The book starts off with some weird rash decisions/characterizations towards Sierra by some secondary characters – mainly Grace & Stuart. Both have this unexpected over the top hatred towards Sierra. Throw in some completely random twists (which I don’t think are spoilers as it’s in the synopsis) where Grace develops powers and Stuart becomes this weird Cyborg with a digital assistant named Krista and I was confused.
But time and time again, Tim kept pulling me back in. Learning more about Corliss and Jeffrey and the realm rift. Then seeing what happens when Randall is affected was a great narrative push. Waggoner kept digging the story hooks into me and I was hoping we’d be able to move away from Grace & Stuart. I was even hoping for more storyline with Karolyn. But then we are introduced to Mandy, a sex-crazed succubus and the ship started to sink. Sadly there were a number of times I thought I was going to DNF.
The ending both frustrated me as well as excited me. I can’t talk too much about it for fear of moving into full spoiler territory but again – I think if Tim could have lost a lot of the extra stuff, this would have been such a great read. When all was said and done, I almost longed for the book to have been a novella instead.
Oh well. I’m still really looking forward to the other books I have by Tim, and if you read the synopsis and it sounds like a book you’d enjoy – then definitely check it out!
Sierra Sowell s dead brother Jeffrey is resurrected by a mysterious man known only as Corliss. Corliss also transforms four people in Sierra s life into inhuman monsters determined to kill her. Sierra and Jeffrey s boyfriend Marc work to discover the reason for her brother s return to life while struggling to survive attacks by this monstrous quartet.
Corliss gives Sierra a chance to make Jeffrey’s resurrection permanent if she makes a dreadful bargain. Can she do what it will take to save her brother, no matter how much blood is shed along the way?
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