Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.
this is the perfect tagline for a horror story. and between the ominous promise of that line and my having enjoyed malerman’s full-length books, Bird Box and Black Mad Wheel, well—it did not take me long to whip out eleven of my dollars for what i thought would be a sweet little nightmare.
and while i have a shelf for “titles that lie,” i do not have a shelf for “publisher names who lie,” but i gotta say, if you are a publisher calling yourself “this is horror,” you’re setting up expectations in your readers. and while “this is mildly eerie” doesn’t have quite the same impact on the letterhead, it would at least diminish the disappointment of horror fans who will read this novella and think, “buh?” instead of “eek!”
it’s not terrible, but i kept waiting for the horror shoe to drop, and it doesn’t ever, really. there are moments when something really scary could happen, but it never blossoms into terror. i think this would make an excellent silent cartoon, though, where the horror is implicit, shadowed, like in a good japanese horror movie.
as it is, it’s kind of like a rom-com version of Channel Zero: No-End House. underwater. which isn’t the worst thing ever, but is not at all horrific. or horror-fic.
malerman has earned an off-day, but i want chills next time! CHILLS, i say!