The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford

I was feeling in the mood for a horror story and this short novel, with its creepy cover and even creepier premise, seemed like the right fit. I grabbed it from the library and read it in just over 2 hours. Here is my review:

Maggie, Russell, and Henry have been friends for a long time. For their last college vacation together, they decide to play archaeologist in an old abandoned house in the woods outside of town. But as they excavate the outhouse, they find way more than what they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child. But disturbing the skeleton comes with a price. The trio find themselves being followed by an unknown intruder, and the people they care about are brutally murdered. Something has been awakened, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

This novel wasn’t a horror story as much as it was a horror-comedy. The tone of the story is very jovial, and it is told from Henry’s perspective. There’s a fair amount of cussing and joking around even in the midst of danger. I didn’t actually mind the humor because it made for a fun ride. However, the thrill I was looking for was never there. Since this was a short book, everything happened too quickly for me and there was no time for that creepy chill to set in. The humor, while fun, also impeded the ability of the story to amp up the tension. Even though there was murder and a scary creature thrown into the mix, nothing was actually scary. This was an interesting story that had a good overall plot. But the novel suffered because it was just too quick and funny to be chilling. I would recommend this to someone looking for a quick and interesting read, but horror enthusiasts might find themselves disappointed with this one. I’m giving it a 2/5 stars; while it was an interesting read, it wasn’t the horror it was made out to be.

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