Published by Inkshares on October 31, 2017
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense
Buy on Amazon
"A slow-burn, skin-crawling haunted house novel that had me on the edge of my seat until the last page. This debut establishes Scott Thomas as a force to be reckoned with on the horror scene. " —Shane D. Keene, HorrorTalk
At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, is the Finch House. For years it has remained empty, overgrown, abandoned. Soon the door will be opened for the first time in decades. But something is waiting, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests…
When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt will become a fight for survival. The entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them a part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.
KILL CREEK, by Scott Thomas, is apparently his first novel. After reading that, I was positively stunned. I went into this book without any preconceived notions, and ended with giving it a full five-star rating. For any novel, this was fantastic–when you factor in the knowledge that it was the author’s debut, it’s astonishing!
“No house is born bad . . . “
The premise of KILL CREEK begins with a billionaire’s horror-loving son’s podcast, in which he strives to bring the horror genre back into the mainstream. Justin Wainwright arranges to get four vastly different-styled horror authors together on Halloween–in a reputedly haunted house–to do a live “interview” with them.
“. . . Sometimes stories have too much power. They change who people think you are.”
The set up for this particular story was quite original. Instead of your standard-fare haunted house, the author insures that there is no neat, definitive explanation as to how–or even, if–the old Finch House on Kill Creek is haunted. All we, and the characters, have to go on is atmosphere and ancient, ambiguous rumors. The only thing known for certain is that two sisters, Rachel and Rebecca Finch, were the last to own, live–and die–there. According to the will of the last living sister, everything in the home, including the furnishings, were to remain exactly as they were when she died.
“Funny thing about rumors . . . It doesn’t matter if they’re true or false, only that people believe them.”
Aside from the initial builder’s death, anything else concerning a “haunting” nature is pure conjecture, with absolutely nothing grounded in a factual basis to back it up. Yet despite this, just being in the proximity of this large estate is enough to give anyone pause.
“. . . Its very existence seemed impossible without the help of the supernatural.”
Thomas does a superb job in the characterizing of each of the novel’s main characters. I could easily differentiate between the four novelists, and felt that even their backstories were woven into the story in a seamless, natural manner. I “felt” each of these personalities, and by the end of the book, it was as if I had known them intimately for years. Even the arrogant Wainwright and his “assistant”, Kate, fit into the story so perfectly, that the entire project had a sense of “reality” to it that I find missing in so many novels.
“. . . If you believe it’s real, then it’s real.”
Another thing that this book has going for it is an indisputable, uneasy atmosphere that actually caused me to break out in goosebumps a couple of times.
“. . . The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear . . .”
Thomas’ descriptions of eerie silences, muted noises, half-glimpsed shadows, and little more than what amounted to rumors about the old estate are what drives the readers’ minds to enter into that “terror zone”, in which just about anything–real or supernatural in origin–is not only possible, but expected . . .
“. . . When our fate is uncertain, our minds naturally lead us to the worst possible scenario . . . “
By NOT giving us a tangible menace, Thomas makes his novel even more frightening because the ambiguous nature causes our minds to automatically expect the worst, and most evil haunting presence possible. This technique worked extraordinarily well, in my opinion, and gave me the feeling that the tension and suspense just continued to ratchet up all throughout the story. Not once did I feel as if the supernatural element “let up”, or left our characters alone for even a moment.
“The insects won’t cross the creek. They won’t come over to this side.”
Overall, this is one of the best novels I’ve read this year in terms of suspense, tension, fear, and realistic characters. Just when I thought I’d figured out part of the story, something else would come up to derail my current thoughts. This book commanded my complete attention each time I picked it up, and not once did my excitement wane.
“Perhaps the house is waking up . . . “
If this is Scott Thomas’ first novel, then I can only imagine what his future might bring.