Published by Bloodshot Books on April 13, 2018
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror, Psychological Horror, Suspense, Weird Tales
Format: eBook, Paperback
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An elderly funeral home worker, struggling with the loss of his wife, finds an unnatural attraction to a corpse at work resembling his late bride in her younger years.
A story of desperation, loneliness and letting go.
STIRRING THE SHEETS is the first novella I have read by author Chad Lutzke. After finishing this one in a single sitting, I am so glad I already have two additional books of his in my TBR pile to read next!
I’ll admit, I’ve seen a lot of great reviews for various works by this author, but nothing prepared me for the emotional impact his writing would have on me! This is the story of a man named Emmett, who lost his wife of 50 years, one year ago. You might think that working in a mortuary–The Griffin Funeral Home–would have inured him somewhat to the inevibility of death, but Lutzke takes us beyond the surface, deep into the very soul of our main character.
“. . . Problem is, he hasn’t moved on at all . . . “
The words flow right into your mind, immediately giving you an open-window view of Emmett’s mental state. His attachment to his wife was so beautiful, and yet, it is precisely this attachment that is holding him back from moving forward. He simply “exists”.
“. . . It’s about surviving, when all you want to do is wake up dead.”
The characterization was fantastic in regards to all the characters, not just Emmett. We have his well-meaning neighbor, the widow across the street; the “juvenile delinquent”, Julian, also across the street; his boss; and junior co-worker, Chet. All of these people play significant parts in shaping our main character, even though every episode is not spelled out for you. We learn by “show”, rather than “tell”–even if most of the show is in the form of Emmett’s recollections of his past and reflections on his present.
“. . . It doesn’t take much to threaten a cry anymore . . . It has everything to do with being alone.”
When Emmet is suddenly spurred into an unimaginable, shocking action, it comes off as not only believable, but almost “acceptable” based on how much we already know of his mindset. From a horrifying thought, with the magic of Lutzke’s words, the incident becomes an emotional–almost tender–moment for a while. Of course, the eventual repercussions still sink into our minds, but for some time, we are able to feel the way Emmett, himself does–at least, partially. And during that intimate time, we are actually “thinking and feeling” our character’s own thoughts.
” . . . This is coping . . . “
Overall, I am still astounded by the emotional punch this little novella packed, and how intensely it made me feelinside–both for Emmett, and for the void in his life that he felt could never be made whole. Lutzke has a writing style that not only interested me, but pulled me into the story and life of Emmett 100%. There was no impatience in reading this, no skimming, but an actual desire on my part to linger upon every printed word.
“‘You don’t need to check upon me . . . God blessed me with another day.’
Was it a blessing?”
At the end of the novella, it was as if a spell had been lifted, and I was once again in my own reality. After this one book alone, Chad Lutzke has another fan.