Nate Southard's books include Scavengers, This Little Light of Mine, Red Sky, Just Like Hell, Broken Skin, and He Stepped Through. His short fiction has appeared in such venues as Cemetery Dance, Black Static, Thuglit, and the anthology Supernatural Noir. His short stories "Going Home, Ugly Stick in Hand" and "The Blisters On My Heart" have received honorable mentions in The Year's Best Horror, and he earned a Bram Stoker Award nomination for his story "In the Middle of Poplar Street." A graduate of The University of Texas with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film, Nate lives in Austin, Texas with his cat. You can learn more at natesouthard.com.
The first thing I noticed with this book was the immediate typo in the book in either the description of the story or on the first page that gives the date of the story. The back of the book says it takes place in 1992 while the start of the book makes it June, 1992. This was the first of a few typos in the story, along with a font size that should have been a little larger given the short length of the story. While those two issue were a little annoying (and confusing when it came to when it was supposed to be taking place), they will not factor into my rating as I don't blame the author for them and only mention them here to inform others in case that would impact their desire to read this.
I had never read anything by Nate Southard before this, but had heard good things, so I was excited to read this and check out his work. In the end I finished this feeling let down and disappointed. What started out as a strong psychological thriller with an unknown creature terrorizing a band that was involved in a plane crash turned into supernatural horror story with no purpose. This story started very strong for me, but ended up finishing very weak.
While I don't mind having supernatural elements in my horror stories I want there to be a purpose. What I got when I read this felt like it was just thrown in for no good reason. There was no story of exactly what the supernatural element was, why it was there, how it got there, what it wanted, or pretty much anything else about it.
The first part of this was easily a 5 star story, but the last part of this was only about a 1.5 star story. In the end I give it 3.25 stars.Read more ›
I'll echo other reviews by saying this book started out great. It pulled me in quickly, making me curious about the characters and sympathetic towards their lives and their impending situation. Once things started to take the inevitable weird turn, my interest only grew. And by weird, I don't mean completely predictable weird for the sake of weird. I think this story is incredibly original, however, I feel the book ended too quickly and rather abruptly. It doesn't give you a nice ending all wrapped up in a pretty pink bow with everything answered, thankfully. If anything, I find it to be pretty bleak. But I feel that there was so much more to explore with this idea, and with the unraveling back story amongst the characters, that another hundred or two hundred pages would've only strengthened it and pushed it that much further and made it that much better.
I'm definitely a fan and look forward to reading more from Nate in the future.
Nate Southard's short novel, DOWN, is a strange, mixed tale. I loved the first half or so, with its relentless action and unknown creature attacking the group's survivors; but once the story dipped into the supernatural, with the introduction of the sinkhole and its mysterious denizens and no reason why they were there or where they came from, it became too bizarre and left me completely flat. A solid five-star start crumbles like the dirt in the sinkhole to a pitiful, one-star resolution. Overall, then, it works out to around a three-star rating. A little more believability in the resolution could have lifted this tale to at least four-stars.