Personal invites are sent to four best-selling authors of horror, presenting the opportunity to visit and spend the night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses. It’s supposed to be a simple and effective publicity stunt for Halloween, where they’d be filmed and interviewed during the experience in the hopes of boosting sales and relevancy, yet they soon realise that maybe the nightmarish lore of the Finch House is more rooted in fact than fiction.
(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)
It’s been roughly a year since I sat down with a novel I could get immersed in, Kill Creek finally urging me to pluck it from the shelf with its attractive design (those deckled edges!) and promise of a bloody tale. It was the one in that moment – the chosen – and I hoped it would lightly shove me in the right direction of returning to the beloved hobby. Well, it did exactly that, and here I am writing my first review in what seems like forever! I’ve missed the enjoyment of a good book, as well as the highs and lows that come with it.
I make it no secret that haunted houses aren’t my favourite form of horror, I often find them too predictable with their overused tropes that quickly get old, yet Thomas changed it up some whilst still including the ghostly elements that are so popular in the genre – the atmospheric setting of a dilapidated old house, and the ghastly phantoms in the dark. Despite picking up clues from the distinct foreshadowing as to some of the events and mystery surrounding the Finch House, there were still surprises along the way, the most notable being its action-packed culmination of which was unexpected and somewhat upsetting. It’s considered a slow burn, and that may have been one of the reasons I liked it, as I prefer to be left in a state of dread rather than completely desensitised to the supernatural aspects too early.
The characters themselves being authors, they each represented different sub-genres of horror, from the teen hits that focus on the triumph of good, to the marriage of sex and depravity where evil has its wicked way, and that which sits in between both extremes. The glimpse into the publishing world also held a sad truth that I appreciated; I think most writers would say the job isn’t as glamorous as some would believe it to be. I found myself liking the four novelists and interested in their interactions that often left me wondering if writers do indeed carry such disdain for each other’s work. Moore, however, had me torn back and forth – on one hand her unfiltered and confrontational attitude was amusing, yet on the other it was a slight too exaggerated even for me. Although when events really started to get crazy, I didn’t want any of them to suffer, which is definitely an indication that I connected with them in some way.
Unfortunately, some minor aspects had me roll my eyes, specifically how Moore was described. Certain key features were mentioned more than necessary, namely the bosom or body shape in general. I’m not against sexual content by any means, and I get that the intention may have been to add sex appeal or to convey the character’s thoughts, but I don’t think it contributed much of anything (other than letting the reader know that those breasts were barely contained.) My thoughts regarding this common trend is that if women have to be overly sexualised, then at least include the male characters as well, therefore making it an even playing field. I try not to let this sort of thing bother me, but I can’t help but question if authors are aware that women read their books.
In conclusion: Kill Creek held me captivated throughout, igniting mystery and intrigue. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and their secrets, and whilst some of the revelations were speculated beforehand, I still enjoyed the overall story with only some small complaints. The rust of my year-long break was well and truly scraped away by Thomas, and for that I’m more than pleased.
There it was, the house on Kill Creek, the Finch House, the old, grizzled monster that stalked the dreams of children, that danced on the tongues of morbid storytellers.
© Red Lace 2020