“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews Whispers by Kristin Dearborn, 100 pages published by Lovecraft eZine Press November 29, 2016.
“Her mouth was dry again, and she knew—or she thought she knew—that the voices weren’t real. The whispers swirled around her, coming from each dead brown leaf on each tree. They chanted her name and it made her think of chugging beers, of sucking cock, a false encouragement from people who say they’re your friends but to whom you’re nothing more than a spectacle.”
A tale inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s The Whisperer in Darkness…
Hurricane Irene tore through the dark, wood-choked Vermont hills. In its passing, the rivers bled thick with fallen trees, wildlife carcasses, and, if you looked closely, stranger things. Sarah Sorrell made the mistake of looking very closely indeed. Even so, it all might still have been all right—if she hadn’t felt the need to dig further.
One afternoon in late fall, she finds a girl out in the driving rain, running from brutality. The wise choice is to leave the girl to chance. But Sarah knows the secrets that the forests hide, and why so many hitch-hikers vanish around here. She decides to give the girl a lift. As the two of them drive off into the storm, they have no idea of the journey they’re starting out on…
A chilling novel of the deep Vermont night, Whispers draws on the rich traditions of H. P. Lovecraft to weave the darkest of spells.
“She stood with her back to the woods, to the spidery branches. She could hear the dogs, hear them growling and barking, then they went silent, like they’d found their mark and were analyzing what to do with it. Sarah vanished into the house, and Neveah heard her locking the last dog in the bathroom. She came out with the shotgun.”
H.P. Lovecraft is name known in all circles of horror fans, all seemingly divided on his output. I have read a handful of Lovecraft nightmares, the more well know I suppose. The Dunwich Horror, The Call of Cthulhu, Herbert West: Reanimator, others. While he had some great, thought provoking ideas his clinical, sterile delivery was always a turnoff. Like reading a field guide. Thus I have always been more into tales “inspired by H.P. Lovecraft” more so than Lovecraft’s work.
Enter the new release from Kristin Dearborn, Whispers: Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness”, a story I haven’t read but perhaps I should. Having only read Woman in White (with Stolen Away & Sacrifice Island floating in the ether of the queue), I am still green to Dearborn’s brand of fiction. But with Whispers as the second under my belt it is safe to believe that “Dearborn brand fiction” stands for quality, entertaining dark fiction.
Things kick off with a chance encounter on a dark and stormy night, and really, is there a better classic set up than that? It’s simple, it’s effective, and it can go anywhere. One woman running from a human monster, and another woman fortifying against something a little more worldly.
I really dig Sarah as our main character. She’s broken and haggard, and her interactions with Neveah work well. A solid, believable dialog transpires between the two as the claustrophobic environment applies an equal amount of pressure as the outsiders do. Krisitn applies hefty dose of tension as Sarah’s former friends/ neighbors and Neveah’s past start to turn the screws in unrelated attempts to break the women down. And all of the ingredients whip together smoothly to make for a rather satisfying ending.
“Sarah found herself still awake when the sky turned pink in the east. She’d put peepholes in the shutters so she could see outside when she needed to. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Likely it was the remnants of last night’s storm still lingering. The dogs dozed around her, furry puddles. Her eyes felt like sandpaper, and her stomach was sour from lack of sleep.
They had been outside last night. They’d kept the dogs up, pacing and growling.”
Whispers is a quick and entertaining read, worthy of your time. Check it out.
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and/ or publisher and I am reviewing it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.
If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. Kristin has written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out.
She revels in comments like, “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Kristin’s latest DarkFuse release is Woman in White. Find more about Kristin online at kristindearborn.com or Facebook.
Praise for Kristin Dearborn
“Another winner from Kristin Dearborn, Whispers is full of monsters and mayhem, madness and paranoia, but also boldly-realized characters who live and breathe and feel like flesh-and-blood. Highly recommended . . . now bring on Dearborn’s next one!” — James Newman, author of Odd Man Out, Animosity, Ugly As Sin
“Dripping with dread, charged with suspicion and betrayal, terrifying in its otherworldly loss of human agency and control — Whispers ranks among horror maven Dearborn’s best and most unsettling works to date. It’s always cause for celebration when Kristin Dearborn unleashes a fresh nightmare and this is no exception.” –Ed Kurtz, author of The Rib From Which I Remake the World, Nausea
“In Stolen Away, Kristin Dearborn writes with a confidence and ferocity that demands you keep turning pages. Where lesser writers would flinch and look away, Dearborn tells the tale the way it should be, with cruelty and fascination for both her characters and the story. Kristin Dearborn isn’t just a writer to watch, she’s a writer to watch out for. If she’s swinging, you might want to duck, because she hits hard!—Bracken MacLeod, author of Mountain and Stranded
“Kristin Dearborn’s fast-paced horror thriller, Stolen Away, will possess readers as they strap in for a demonic thrill ride of sin and redemption.”—Stephanie M. Wytovich, author of An Exorcism of Angels
“Gripping nonstop suspense and unsettling horror that blazes the pages from start to finish. You’ll swear Stolen Away was written by a seasoned veteran of best-selling novels. Expect to want more after reading the second novel by Kristin Dearborn, an author whose work will shoot her straight to the top of reading lists.”—Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Evolutionist
“Kristin Dearborn catapults readers into an intricately layered world that is bleak and terrifying but never so damned as to be without hope or redemption. If the devil, so to speak, is in the details, then this book raises hell, exploring not just demons internal as well as external, but also all the beautiful, heart-wrenching, contradictorily complex, powerful little things that define human experience. This book earns a prominent place of the bookshelf of any fan of demonic fiction.” —Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower trilogy and Chills
“Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” —Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards
“Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night
“Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure
“Dearborn has a wonderful sense of the macabre, along with the ability to balance the spookier aspects of her work with well-rendered, solid characterizations…Sacrifice Island is a blazing fast read, with engaging characters and a compelling narrative.” —The Maine Edge
“Sacrifice Island is a fresh and interesting take on a tried and true horror setup.” —Examiner
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