Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
|Book Name:||Kill Creek|
|Formatt:||Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Release Date:||October 31, 2017|
At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it had remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. Soon the front door will be opened for the first time in decades. But something is waiting, lurking in the shadows; anxious to meet its new guests…
When best-selling author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival – the entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.
Suspenseful, foreboding and macabre Kill Creek is high grade horror. It successfully brings together the old world classics that we know like The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, elements of the highly stylised Japanese scare movies like The Ring and a bit of Amityville Horror to give readers some original twists and deathly scares.
There are two main characters, four supporting characters and the monstrosity that is the house itself, so it is quite intimate and enveloping. McGarver is our entry way and invitation into the world of horror and the house itself. He’s a reliable small town journeyman writer with a backstory that contains its own terrors and the burn scars from a very serious fire covering part of his body. To bounce off him we have the razor sharp darkness of T. C. Moore, a raw and brutal female writer who digs into the emotions of the sides of ourselves we show very few. I suspect she is named T. C. for the same reason J. K. is not Joanne, the publishers thought boys would not want to read horror by a woman. It is here we get a sense of the writer taking apart his own genre and having some fun with it by creating four characters that all pen a different type of horror and commenting on them at the same time. Our other two writers are Sebastian Cole sporting his old world classic moniker and the easily devourable pulp of Daniel Slaughter.
The four of them are invited by the oddly charismatic Wainwright, the creator and manager of the most successful horror website, to be part of a live streaming interview that will be the year’s biggest draw card for fans and his most successful venture to date. As the trap is sprung each writer’s motivations and reasons for accepting the invitation become clear. Cole is desperate to be relevant, Moore has just lost creative control of her book turned movie, Slaughter craves respectability, and Sam has writers block and lives in fear he has nothing left in him. Every problem could be solved by what Wainwright is offering and, so, the writers go willingly not knowing there are those unwilling to let them leave.
“The waitress, long and crooked like a bent cigarette, refilled their cups one by one with coffee as black as river mud.”
The chemistry between the characters is fantastic and the competing back and forths led to some interesting showdowns that gave each writer a chance to defend their own personal style of horror whilst also throwing the others in the pulp pile. A particularly enjoyable scene involved a few of them talking through how the other one would write a book about the house they were staying in. It demonstrated Thomas’ knowledge and love of the genre and gave me the same feeling as watching the original Scream movie all those years ago.
This awareness did force me to call out one awkward moment. Early on Thomas established the Moore character as real take no prisoner type. We see her punished in her industry for simply being a woman, her work purchased, sanitized and misunderstood by men who cannot possibly relate to where she has come from and what she is about. We see her take down a boardroom full of pigs and someone who is forging her own path everyone else be damned. In her next scene she’s working out in her sports bra (the only character to have her underwear mentioned not once but twice in page) and it’s revealed she likes to write naked. I could not help but find myself imagining this character who already had a very strong voice saying, “Hang on why the fuck do I have to write naked?? This is exactly what I’m talking about!” Moore is one of the strongest characters in the book and this is the only moment I felt she deserved better but I wanted to mention it to, not only give Thomas a wee chiding, but also to assure readers of the fact that it is an isolated incident.
From start to finish Kill Creek is a winner. It’s spine tingling and frightening but also self-aware and takes a poke at itself and its genre whenever it gets the chance. Highly recommended.