Published by Grinning Skull Press on December 21, 2016
Genres: Crime, Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Suspense, Thriller
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WELCOME TO THE DANDY DROP INN, WHERE EVERYBODY IS TREATED LIKE FAMILY! It's the worst snowstorm Missouri has ever seen, and nine strangers, each harboring their own secrets, find themselves sharing a roof at the Dandy Drop Inn. CHECKING IN'S EASY, … Tommy and Heather Goodenow, the inn's only scheduled guests, are young newlyweds brought together by God himself. They plan to start their life together by carrying out the Lord's work, and God help anybody who gets in their way. Harold Carsten, an accountant for the mob, is on the run with $700,000 stolen from his employer. Winston Ashford is a man on a mission. His mission? Retrieve the money Carsten stole and make sure the man never does it again. And then there's Rebecca Stanchfield and her six-year-old daughter, Kyra; they're risking their lives running from an abusive past. … CHECKING OUT'S A BITCH. Jim and Delores Dandy wouldn't dream of turning anybody away, especially not on the worst night in Missouri's history, because that just wouldn't be neighborly. Before the storm is over, blood will flow. Who will survive to see the storm finally pass?
DREAD AND BREAKFAST, by Stuart R. West, was nothing less than a vicious, adrenaline-filled novel, in which both the pacing and the terror NEVER seemed to let up. I sat down to begin this novel with the anticipation of getting the first couple of chapters read. Two-thirds of the way through, I stopped purely out of necessity (had to feed the family 😉 ).
During a relentless snowstorm in Missouri, nine people–most strangers to each other–find themselves lodging at the Dandy Drop Inn . . . all of them harboring secret reasons for coming out that way. Then we have the Dandys, the most sickeningly sweet, elderly couple to ever welcome people into their home. As if that wasn’t enough to get things moving, it seems like each guest at the Inn has more than the secrets they know about, following in their wake. . .
“. . . she took a deep breath, the only thing on her mind: survival.“
I’ve read plenty of novels that started out strong, only to flounder after a short while, lapsing into “tell” in place of “show” techniques that made me feel as though I were in a lecture hall. I can honestly say that there was none of that lull in DREAD AND BREAKFAST. This pace just kept amping on up. If one situation temporarily resolved, another would immediately open up. The characterization was also in top-form–I felt that I knew everything I needed to about each individual present, their motivations, mindsets, reasonings, and ultimate goals. All of this was conveyed smoothly, interspersed throughout the length of the novel, without ever resorting to a random narration of a jumble of facts.
“. . . What happened in her home scared her more . . . whatever waited for her on the second floor didn’t frighten her at all. Not like Daddy . . . “
Stuart R. West’s new novel is already a serious contender for my “Year’s Best” list. This is one book that I simply couldn’t put aside for another–I had to keep reading at the breakneck pace set by the author. For those who like their horror coming at you from all directions at once, this is the book for you.
Happy nightmares . . .