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Down the Drain Paperback – August 17, 2015
About the Author
Daniel Pyle is the author of Dismember, Down the Drain, Freeze, the upcoming Man vs. Himself, and many short stories. He is also the editor of Unnatural Disasters and an Active member of the Horror Writers Association. After studying creative writing at Amherst College, he moved back to his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, where he now lives with his wife and three children. You can visit him online at danielpyle.com.
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When Bruce's cat disappears, he's more than just a little upset. The cat has been a part of his family for over ten years and his only real friend since his girlfriend walked out. She's nowhere in the house, and the only thing he can think of that might explain her disappearance is that she had somehow managed to sneak out and she was lying dead in a ditch somewhere. Never in his wildest dreams would he guess the truth of what happened to his feline companion. But he's about to find out. It seems there's something living under Bruce's house. Well, that's not exactly right. There's something living in the plumbing, something that surfaces through the drain in the shower. There's really not much more I can say without giving too much away, but suffice it to say, there is a showdown. Who wins? You'll just have to pick it up to see.
I was kind of puzzled initially when I started reading Down the Drain, figuring I was going to be reading the story from the thing's point of view, but it didn't take long to realize that the first chapter is written from the POV of a cat. So we, the reader, know exactly what happened to Bruce's favorite feline. And this is where I almost put the book down. You see, I'm a sucker for animals. Yes, I love me some horror fiction, and you can maim, mutilate, butcher, cannibalize, and torture as many people as you want and it doesn't bother me (yes, I'm sick, I know it), but pleasepleaseplease leave the animals alone. Kill off an animal and you run the risk of losing me as a reader. That's just the way I am. BUT I persevered with this one. Why? It was short. I finished it in about an hour, hour and a half tops. And because my friend said she had really liked it.
Once I got past the kitty killing, I admit I enjoyed Down the Drain. The central (only) character is likable enough, and the creature, as far-fetched as it was, was interestingly original. I did find it a tad predictable, but I pushed on hoping to find out more about the origins of the creature. Yes, it was what I thought it was, but I wanted to know HOW it came into being. Unfortunately, that is never explained. It was well written and well plotted, and with an ending that leaves it wide open for a sequel. Pyle is an author I will definitely be reading more of--provided he stops killing defenseless animals in stories. If you have an hour or two to kill, I would definitely recommend checking this one out. You might question the rating of three stars if I highly recommend this one. It deserves four stars, but I feel compelled to deduct a star for the kitty.
Warning:This novelette contains violence, some involving a cute kitty, and sexual content, though only involving one person, sort of.
What? You're still reading? Well, okay...
Right up front, I have to admit that, as a child, I had a fear of showers. Part of this was having watched the movie, Psycho, at a young age. The other problem stemmed from another movie. I can't remember the name of it; all I remember was a scene where a woman was in a shower and attacked by worms that burrowed...Ugh...never mind. I don't even want to type it. I finally outgrew my fear,well, at least until I read this novelette. It instilled some completely new fears.
Although it was short, I found it to be satisfactory in encompassing a full plot. Bruce, the main character, pulled a lot of empathy, especially in how much he loved his cat. There was just something about the scenes where a grown man is calling, "Kitty, kitty" that really got to me. In this novellette, Bruce was more developed than many main characters in full-length novels.
One thing that I really loved about this story was that the main character didn't do anything stupid. The violence happened so abruptly and was so intense that he didn't really have time for that, anyway. He was too busy trying to survive.
The culminating scene was fast and furious. I don't mean "short," though. It kept on for awhile, but it held my attention until the bitter end. Like many a horror short, this one didn't have a great explanation of the danger the main character endured. As a matter of fact, the ending "wrap-up" was almost humorous. However, I was glad of that, since I enjoy taking showers and really didn't want to end with being terrified of mine.
Writing Style: 5 Stars
The ease in which this story drew me in speaks highly of the flair and smartness of this Mr. Pyle's style. There was no dialogue to speak of, so I can't go into that. The descriptions showed a mastery of storytelling as they depicted every scene vividly. The action was well sequenced with no confusion. No mean feat when the action involved a killer bathtub.
Most recent customer reviews
at the beginning I could not get the image out of my mind.
I couldn't stop looking at the drain in the tub for a week.