This tasty little tidbit of a macabre midnight snack was a novella I chose from the Black Tide Book Tour folks (formerly Blackthorn Book Tours). This was a fun read but it was a slightly different approach to horror, in my opinion. There is almost nothing horror related (almost) in the first half of the book. However, once the horror starts, it’s pretty much constant throughout the rest of the story.
In this particular tale, we have a group of friends who are getting together for Thanksgiving dinner. Friends and family gather to form a social circle as dysfunctional as any other average familial group. There’s a somewhat overbearing wife Char, whose husband, Doug, is a disappointment to her parents, Judy and Owen. Doug and Char have two children, Charlotte (a teenager) and Tommy (a school ager). They are present for the holiday gathering as well. A couple, Mike and Marleen, are friends of Char’s and invited to the festivities, but Doug isn’t a fan of these people. Or Char’s parents, for that matter. Friends Craig and Amy are also invited and supposed to make an appearance but they end up running late, which they are notorious for doing. Then we have Dan. Dan is Doug’s brother and has recently been released from prison. Doug and Dan’s parents, Fred and Mable, also attend this dinner. Doug also asked his best friend, Randy, to come to dinner for Thanksgiving. So, a typical holiday get-together with everyone there being unhappy that someone else in the group is there. Doug doesn’t like Marleen and Mike. Char doesn’t like Dan and Randy. Owen and Judy don’t like Doug. There are voiced complaints about Craig and Amy. And of course, the kids would rather be doing something on a digital device than interact with family and their parents’ friends.
But as the evening continues, many things start to go awry. Little things, big things, dangerous things, offensive things, and scary things from the dark. All this piles up into the culmination of an evening’s worth of negative energy combined with fear and horror. And that is where the real horror begins. Quite the setup for what turns into a very good story. As I mentioned earlier, the real action is in the second half of this story, but the detail and information given are truly needed to set the scene for what this dinner truly entails. Like with so many family get-togethers, this one doesn’t go as hoped or as planned. But slowly and consistently we get small glimpses of our tormenting villainous monster from the background, the tension of our characters, and the suspense of the unknown building up to a horror lover’s classic bloody and gory action-packed tale. Plus, we get to see what’s happening from different characters' points of view on the same events or other events happening at the same time. This is a creative way to give the reader the story and insight into whom the characters are as people and their role in the circumstances and events constantly unfolding.
I think any suspense lover would find this an entertaining read. Its structure of separating parts and then chapters make for a quick read that both thrills and entertains.