Published by Sinister Grin Press on Augist 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Extreme Horror, Horror
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Locals in Naples, Maine think they know the story. The Cobb's were ignorant woods-people that died off and left nothing to fear. But are they wrong?
Luke Howard and his mom move to Naples and Luke’s eager to make new friends. When Jason and Davey invite him out to the abandoned Cobb place for a game they call “chasing ghosts,” he’s ready and willing. However, the boys will come to discover that some vacant houses are better left to die alone.
Meanwhile, a punk band set to play in a rented cabin out of town feel eyes upon them. Somebody’s watching, but not their usual audience. When their lead singer strays too far from the group and disappears, his band mates set out in the darkness to find him.
Police Chief Walt Henderson is about to discover that there’s more going on out in the woods of his town than he ever imagined.
Chasing ghosts is more than just some children’s game.
As a reviewer of horror for three years now, I’ve been around just long enough to look upon some of the newer authors in the genre and think to myself “I got in on the ground floor with this one”.
Glenn Rolfe is one such example.
I’ve read most everything he’s put out because I like his ideas, can see the way he is evolving as a writer, and appreciate him as one of the “nice” authors in the field. So when he asked if I would be up for reviewing his latest novella for HAD, I had no hesitation in saying yes. The email from him that said Chasing Ghosts was a “straight forward horror romp in the vein of Richard Laymon” was just icing on the cake.
And for the most part it’s very enjoyable cake.
Rich with gore, baked with deranged backwoods madmen, and topped off with a breakneck pace, Chasing Ghosts manages to not only channel Laymon’s Beast House series, but includes more than passing nods to Jack Ketchum’s Off Season and sequels.
There is barely a superfluous sentence in Chasing Ghosts. It quickly arrests the reader’s attention and does not let go until the final page is turned. The highest compliment I can pay Chasing Ghosts is that I read it in two sittings – the first while settling in for sleep one night, and the next while on my lunch break the next day. I usually have two to three reads on the go at any one time, but in those 14 or so hours between reading sessions, I wasn’t interested in reading anything else.
Perhaps the biggest criticism I have of Chasing Ghosts, however, is its brevity. Some novels really could have been edited down to novellas; some novellas – like this one – should have been allowed to breathe more. Rolfe displays almost a maniacal glee as he dispatches one semi-established character after the next, and I believe these scenes would have been all the more powerful had the reader been given more time to get to know them before they met their (often) grisly fates.
Regardless, if you’re not looking for high art, but you are looking for a blood-soaked good time, Chasing Ghosts is likely to satisfy the vast majority of horror-seeking palates.
3.5 Backwoods Party Invites to Reconsider for Chasing Ghosts.