November 7, 2018
I'm a bit late to the party, but Kill Creek was one of the most buzzed about new Horror novels of 2017, published by one of the most buzzed about new publishers with a specialty in Horror, InkShares.
InkShares is a relatively new force in the publishing world, that has me fairly excited with last year's A God In The Shed and now this, both of which have been optioned for TV.
One of the most exciting parts about InkShares for me, is their visibility, as they're actually making it to the shelves of brick and mortar bookstores, a feat not many genre titles, especially by new authors, are able to manage these days.
For that alone, I'll give them my money, as a token of appreciation and in hopes it'll keep them there.
But is this book any good?
I'll be honest. A 400+ page book billed as a 'slow burn haunted house story' doesn't exactly get my reader senses jumping for joy. There's a billion of them and they generally aren't for me. It's a huge part of why I held off.
But a good many reviews promised a big, nasty payoff in the finale paired with my unwavering-as-possible support for the genre, my undying hope that it becomes a lucrative genre to write in again...and the fact I tried to read a very similar book that just straight up sucked from the glory days (The Manse, if you're wondering)...led me to finally give it a whirl.
My whirl was just about worth it. Just about, but not totally.
The plot reminded me greatly of another book I read this year, 1987s Soulstorm, with 4 horror authors, and their red herring hosts, being locked in a big old haunted house for a night. Soulstorm expanded that to a month, made the authors some random so-and-sos, gave us a few more outlandishly bizarre moments and shortened the whole ordeal by about a hundred pages (read: LESS DRAWN OUT) but the basic premise is the same.
The basic premise is pretty much the same as a good thousand novels, but Kill Creek excels in a few areas, most namely it's very modern self-awareness. It knows what it is, who is going to read it and has all sorts of fun Easter Egg bits for that audience. I really enjoyed the characters and the nods paid to Horror fiction through their presentation. TC Moore being my favorite...she's a strong, take-no-BS type of character and her work is the kind of nasty stuff I tend to love. She's also very dimensional, probably the most fleshed out character in the book, outside of it's key protagonist, Sam McGarver.
The big gory finale is great fun, but its just too little, too late. Kill Creek spends way too much time with the melodrama for my liking and none of it is particularly engrossing. I love some melodrama when I can relate, identify or even just give a damn about because I really like the story and its players. I struggled with this, mostly due to the fact that the characters are all best-selling, wealthy horror authors.
Sure, they showed a little desperation, but I have a helluva time believing that any of these guys, supposed legends of horror writing, would be coerced into such a risky and fairly tacky publicity stunt. I also struggled with the believability of the horror blogs popularity that gets them in the situation. Because, well, I run a fairly popular horror blog...and it certainly hasn't turned me into a millionaire with an audience that would reinvigorate anyone's career.
Anyway, Kill Creek is good enough. It'll do. If good enough is what you're looking for, then here it is.
One thing is for sure though, it will make great television, if and when it actually happens.
The novel however is a 3/5.