I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.THINGS YOU NEED by Kevin Lucia
Published by Crystal Lake Publishing on September 28, 2018
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Haunted House, Horror, Mystery, Occult & Supernatural, Paranormal, Psychological Horror, Supernatural, Suspense, Weird Tales
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“Kevin Lucia is this generation's answer to Charles L. Grant.” – Brian Keene
The things we want are so very rarely the things we need.
Clifton Heights, a modest Adirondack town, offers many unique attractions. Arcane Delights sells both paperbacks and hard-to-find limited editions. The Skylark Diner serves the best home-cooked meals around, with friendly service and a smile. Every August, Mr. Jingo’s County Fair visits, to the delight of children and adults. In essence, Clifton Heights is the quintessential small American town. Everyone knows everyone else, and everyone is treated like family. It is quiet, simple, and peaceful.
But shadows linger here. Flitting in dark corners, from the corner of the eye. If you walk down Main Street after dark, the slight scrape of shoes on asphalt whispers you're not alone, but when you look over your shoulder, no one is there. The moon shines high and bright in the night sky, but instead of throwing light, it only seems to make the shadows lengthen.
Children disappear. Teens run away. Hunters get lost in the woods with frightening regularity. Husbands go mad, and wives vanish in the dead of night. And still, when the sun rises in the morning, you are greeted by townspeople with warm waves and friendly smiles, and the shivers pass as everything seems fresh and new...
Until night falls once more.
Handy's Pawn and Thrift sits several blocks down from Arcane Delights. Like any thrift store, its wares range from the mundane to the bizarre. By daylight, it seems just another slice of small town Americana. But in its window hangs a sign which reads: We Have Things You Need. And when a lonely traveling salesman comes looking for something he desperately wants, after normal visiting hours, after night has fallen, he will face a harsh truth among the shelves of Handy’s Pawn and Thrift: the things we want are rarely the things we need.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
THINGS YOU NEED, by Kevin Lucia, is another novel centered in his fictional town of Clifton Heights. As with several of his other books that showcase this distinctive location, this has a central theme that is broken up by smaller stories, all having something to do with the main thread.
“. . . there was something off in Clifton Heights.”
When a salesman makes a stop in this town, he discovers the innocuous storefront of “Handy’s”. Walking inside for the first time, a sense of something “different” overcomes him.
“It was fate. I was meant to stop at Handy’s. And nothing would ever be the same after.”
Alone and unfulfilled both emotionally and professionally, he finds himself going back later that evening to try and find what it was that he, himself, needed.
“. . . people know exactly what they want, but it takes time to search for what they need . . . “
The eight shorter tales incorporated into this larger theme all have some connection to Hardy’s Pawn and Thrift Store. Some of the stand-outs, in my opinion, are:
—A tale of one couple’s celebration of Dia de Los Muertos, and how it binds them together, in life and beyond . . .
–“Out of Field Theory”: Brian Palmer used to capture magic with his Nikon camera, but since he left for college, he seems to have lost that touch. Will a trip back home to Clifton Heights rekindle that spark? “. . . What lies cut off by the frame still continues off the frame in a reality created by the photographic device.”
–“Scavenging”: A man tries to find his past, but at what cost?
–“The Black Pyramid”: A struggling preacher finds exactly what he “needs” at a sidewalk sale. “I had to look, right? Had to. Because it’s what humans do. We look. Most especially when we shouldn’t.”
As always, these tales speak differently to each person. As a whole, combined within the greater theme, I felt they really emphasized the power behind the emotions and the attachments we make with certain physical objects, at just the right time in our lives.
“What we want is so rarely what we need. What we need, we hardly ever want.”
Overall, I love Kevin Lucia’s writing style, and most especially his tales of Clifton Heights. He has a way with this type of format that makes it work so well. I will be eagerly awaiting his next stories from this unique town!
“. . . In the end, we only know our own stories . . . “