A gruesome slasher story that mainly rests on genre tropes rather than using them to create fully developed characters and...



A killer haunts a Texas town full of mysteries in this debut novel.

A string of brutal attacks rocks the isolated community of Glen Haven. Known as the Goatman, thanks to his animal skull mask, the murderer leaves a single survivor of each assault—a group of women who have banded together into a club. These traumatized yet resilient women want revenge and capture the killer during the book’s first chapter. They must now decide whether to turn the Goatman over to the proper authorities or administer their own justice. Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Christoph Edison arrives in town to help Texas Ranger Emmitt Maverick investigate the homicides. The fastidious and intelligent Edison learns that Glen Haven has a history of enigmatic happenings, culminating in a surreal vision of a spectral figure called “Mr. Nobody” at a rural crime scene. The work also tells each survivor’s story in sequences that will be familiar to horror aficionados. Cat Bachman was making a documentary about a witchcraft-tinged murder (her tale is told through found footage watched by Edison). Anne survived a college camping trip loaded with sex and booze; Autumn endured a break-in in the middle of a boathouse party full of teenage relationship drama. Breakfield’s premise is intriguing, but each character’s thread is ultimately swamped by genre references. Teen slasher flicks, The Blair Witch Project, and Twin Peaks are all lovingly imitated, but overall the novel seems content to repeat familiar beats rather than use homages to further build its own story. The players—almost all incredibly good-looking—are not defined much past their “types,” which can render their dialogue awkward and flat. The author’s more original ideas—whether an overarching plot device such as a Survivor’s Club or a simple striking image like an eerie wall of stones with a breathing mouth—are undoubtedly promising. Hopefully, Breakfield will trust his creative instincts in his next outing.

A gruesome slasher story that mainly rests on genre tropes rather than using them to create fully developed characters and scenarios. 

Pub Date: July 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-92168-5

Page Count: 388

Publisher: Bifrost Universe

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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