If ever a novella begged for a sizable upgrade to a full-length novel, it’s this one. Wood opens right as the action is about to kick into gear and then pauses only to drip feeds expository information as the narrative rolls out at a fast pace. There’s barely a chance for the reader to get their bearings before protagonist Keeler is on the wrong side of supernatural divide between this world and the one that purportedly exists in the twisted psyche of a convicted serial killer.
The writing is tight and accomplished and there’s certainly no lull in proceedings. In fact, if anything, it all happens far too quickly. I repeatedly found myself wanting to know and experience more of the twisted world Keller was visiting. Details of how the experiments work are deliberately left sparse – and that’s absolutely fine – but the world which we’re taken on a ride to experience consists of only two scenes where little substance is provided. Instead, the reader is simply asked to accept what they are privy too is the byproduct of a sick and twisted mind, and that’s about the extent of it. Another gripe I had was the rationale behind conducting the experiments also seemed somewhat flimsy.
But these complaints aside, The Scrubs is a fantastic idea that virtually demands further exploration. Though Wood has shown no sign of providing a sequel, I hope this one day serves as a kind of prelude to a more detailed exploration of the concepts contained within.
3 to 3.5 Elliptical Holes in a Prison Wall for The Scrubs.