I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends (DeAnna Knippling and M.B. Partlow), posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.)
This week I'm reviewing Naomi's Room, by Jonathan Aycliffe.
This was a solid ghost story. It reminded me of The Shining, due to it being about a man from the past influencing a man to harm his family. The Shining did it better, but this was a much shorter book than that one.
Though there are explicit crimes mentioned, no major details are given, and they happen "off-stage."
The description of the book says this is about a grieving father. It felt like that at the beginning, but by the end he's indifferent, and therefore, so am I. While I think his indifference was intentional, I would have liked to see more internal conflict from the main character, which would have engaged me more.
The writing was good and kept me reading, but the book was predictable. It never emotionally engaged me as much as it should, considering it's about a child who gets murdered to begin with, and only gets worse from there.
My Top Ten stands:
1. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
2. The Girl Next Door (Jack Ketchum)
3. The Bottoms (Joe R. Lansdale)
4. The Collector (John Fowles)
5. Coraline (Neil Gaiman)
6. The Bridge (John Skipp and Craig Spector)
7. A Choir of Ill Children (Tom Piccirilli)
8. Needful Things (Stephen King)
9. 1Q84 (Haruki Murakami)
10. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
The First Line is seeking flash fiction and short stories beginning with a previous first line (lines are available on the website). 300 to 5000 words. Pays $25 to $50. Deadline February 1.
Unnerving Magazine is seeking horror and other forms of dark fiction. 800 to 4000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline February 1.
The New Southern Fugitives are seeking fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and photography. Up to 2000 words. Pays $40 to $100.
Reader's Digest is seeking short works of various themes/types. Pay and lengths vary.
Have you read Naomi's Room? How about Aycliffe? What did you think? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.