"The Thornapple's winding body and its non-navigable waters, bringing nothing to nobody. A steady stream of pointlessness. A withered worm in a rotten apple. A river surrounded by a stillness, whose muddy banks go untrodden, whose tireless, repressed rage goes unheard, out of earshot, trembling with inarticulate anger."
The Thornapple runs through Ardor, Michigan, during the winter in which this story is set. I could feel the cold in my bones. It may well be that the the season is a symbol, of what's become of this town. The dead-ness of it. The grittiness of it. The wasted remains of its inhabitants.
It's not just the meth-amphetamine that's a problem here, but that's definitely part of it. It's dying dreams, it's cult worship, it's Bicycle Bob. Who is Bicycle Bob? Is he real, or is he the product of sick imaginations? I think he's real. He's ruined too many lives not to be. And I haven't even mentioned the worm yet.
This book begins with a quote from Edgar Allan Poe. I've included the last two lines here: "...That play is the tragedy of "Man", and its hero is the Conqueror Worm."
I was super impressed with this novella. It's dark, it's gritty and it's creepy as all hell. It puts me in mind of authors like Kealan Patrick Burke, and Lovecraft. This horror is quiet, it's gritty, it's not super gory, it's not in-your-face bloody. What it IS is scarier than that-bigger than that. I'm excited to have found a new author capable of writing something this good.
I highly recommend this tale to fans of gritty, quiet horror! If you do read it, look me up because I would love to discuss Bicycle Bob.
I received a free ecopy of this book to honestly review for Horror After Dark.