I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Kill Creek by Scott Thomas
Published by Inkshares on October 31 2017
Genres: Adult, Horror
Format: Finished paperback
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The nitty-gritty: Clever, scary, entertaining and well written, Kill Creek is a slick and polished debut.
With each new Inkshares book I read, I become more and more impressed with the quality of not only the writing, but the complete package. I was lucky enough to get a finished paperback copy of Kill Creek from the publisher, and it’s just gorgeous! It has French wraps and deckle edges and atmospheric artwork on the cover. I don’t think there is an Inkshares book I’ve read this year that I haven’t enjoyed, and Kill Creek is one of my favorites. Scott Thomas starts his story in the tradition of many haunted house stories–a group of strangers gathers for a night in a haunted house–but he surprised me by veering off the predictable path. Horror fans take note: this story will most likely push all your buttons!
Kill Creek has an awesome concept: An eccentric young internet sensation named Justin Wainwright, who is famous for staging horror-centric live video streams on YouTube that get millions of hits, announces his next big thing: he’s invited four of the world’s most famous horror writers to join him in a group interview, but the kicker is that they will be spending the night in a haunted house on Halloween night. The writers are bestselling author Sam McGarver, who is currently suffering from writer’s block, young adult sensation Daniel Slaughter, a church-going Christian whose fans are starting to shun his scary stories, T.C. Moore, a young, edgy female writer whose cutting edge ideas are shocking to most readers, and the granddaddy of horror, Sebastian Cole, who is deeply worried about his flashes of memory loss. Wainwright brings his photographer/videographer girlfriend Kate along to catch all the action, and the group assembles in the house at Kill Creek, an old house with plenty of horrific history. It was once owned by sisters Rachel and Rebecca Finch, whose ghosts are rumored to still haunt the place. Even though none of the authors believes in the stories, they can’t deny that an air of creepiness hangs over the house.
Wainwright conducts his interview, which turns out to be a personal attack on each author–after all, he is going for the entertainment value and he unapologetically unearths each author’s deepest secrets–and the six turn in for the night. But strange things begin to happen. Several people think they see shadows moving, which disappear when they turn around. An odd scratching sound is coming from behind the walls. And what the heck is up with the brick wall that’s been built in front of the door to the third floor bedroom?
To tell you much more about the story would be spoiling things. What I will say is that if you are expecting your typical “night in a haunted house” story, you are going to be surprised. Scott Thomas’ story did not go where I was expecting it go, but boy did I have fun anyway! The story twists and turns, almost throwing the reader off, until Thomas gets us back on track near the last third of the story, but up to that point I had no idea what was going to happen. The first part of the story is fairly tame, and the scares are mostly psychological. The characters think they see strange things in the house, but then they look again and everything appears to be normal. There is a particularly creepy part that involves the mysterious brick wall, and don’t worry, I won’t go into details, but that wall comes back into play several times throughout the story.
But in the last section, watch out, because the story takes a violent turn, and I almost felt as if I were watching a slasher film. The change in tone sounds abrupt, but trust me, it all worked so well together. Fans of atmospheric horror may not like this change, so fair warning if graphic violence is a trigger for you.
Part of what made this book so much fun was that each writer had a weak spot that Wainwright goes out of his way to exploit. Sam’s was the most interesting, I thought. Sam is hiding a big secret that is hinted at throughout the story, but it isn’t until the end that he finally reveals the source of his nightmares. And the book he’s currently working on isn’t going anywhere, and his editor isn’t happy. Sebastian is trying to hold it together, even when he has terrifying memory lapses. He’s also afraid that his writing isn’t relevant anymore, and he’s hoping the exposure on Wainwright’s video will win him back his fans. Moore has just optioned one of her books to a movie studio, and in fact, filming is about to begin. But after meeting with the production team, she’s furious because the director wants to tone down her hard-core storyline. Each one agrees to the interview in the hopes of helping their careers, but unfortunately they each get way more than they bargained for.
Which brings us to the house. Thomas lulls the reader into a false sense of security by making us question whether the house is actually haunted or not. But then he pulls out the big guns, and the house becomes a character, of sorts. I read big chunks of this book at night, and I didn’t sleep well until I was finished!
Since this story is about writers, the author adds in lots of clever asides about the publishing business and the pitfalls of social media. I also felt as though this book is an homage to the horror genre, as it seems to touch on many aspects of horror publishing, and even seems to represent real-life horror writers we know and love. Think of the first three or four famous horror writers that pop into your head and you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about.
I don’t know if Scott Thomas is planning a sequel to Kill Creek, but there are hints that there could be more to this story. Horror fans take note: this is one book you don’t want to miss.
Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.