Kill Creek – Scott Thomas

Kill Creek is best read when the weather is on your side. While I travelled to the Finch House there was torrential rain, thunder that rattled the windows, hail that pounded on the roof, 30,000 lightning strikes one night in the local area (or so they reported on the news) and wind that howled through the trees. One windy night around 3am as I crept through the dark house trying to be quiet so I didn’t wake anyone up I walked through a cobweb. Reading at night with the only light coming from my Kindle I could almost imagine something that used to be human reaching for me in the darkness of the room just beyond what I could see. It was creepy and it was perfect. I highly recommend reading Kill Creek under similar circumstances.

If ever a book was written with a cinematic quality where you could practically watch the movie as you’re reading the book, this is the one. An hour or so before walking through my cobweb I’d read a part in the book with spiders (so many spiders! 🕷) and sitting there in the dark I convinced myself I could feel something crawling along my arm. Now that’s the kind of creepy I love, when the book reaches out from the pages (or screen) and convinces you that what’s happening in the book and what’s happening around you as you read it are related, like the book knows and is somehow causing these ‘coincidences’. After reading his book, Scott Thomas almost had me convinced the house at Kill Creek had the power to reach into my life, and that is the type of creepy fun I haven’t experienced in a book in a long time.

Kill Creek takes us to Finch House, a gorgeous and meticulously crafted house with over 150 years of tragedy living within its walls. Wainwright of WrightWire (an internet “destination for horror events”) and his photographer Kate plan to interview four of the world’s most famous horror writers at Finch House for WrightWire’s annual Halloween stunt.

Our lambs to the slaughter authors are Sam, a lecturer at the University of Kansas and best-selling author who’s struggling to write his next novel, Sebastian who’s basically horror writer royalty, Daniel who I imagined as a Christian version of R.L. Stine and Moore, who writes what I can only describe as torture porn. Horror means something different to each author and each has their own reason for agreeing to take part in this interview. What they experience may reveal that the ghosts of the past that haunt your mind can be some of the most terrifying ghosts of all.

And the house? The house enjoys entertaining visitors. I remember one of my English teachers talking about how locations can become characters in stories and in my adolescent omniscience I sat there rolling my eyes thinking, ‘Yeah, whatever’. So, anonymous English teacher, I get it now! The house in Kill Creek is my favourite character!

Told in third person from multiple points of view, you are granted access to each character’s thoughts, desires and greatest fears. At times the writing was so poetic I almost forgot I was reading a horror novel. Then there’d be a description of seeping wounds, crunching bones or goo oozing out of eyeballs, and I’d remember, sometimes almost cringing from the detailed descriptions of agony and torment. With some humour, action sequences, egos battling egos and mystery thrown in along with some good old fashioned murder, Kill Creek is pure entertainment.

Should you ever star in your own horror novel, there are some basics that Kill Creek teaches that you should probably keep in mind.

Horror Novel 101

  1. If there’s a creepy basement with a rickety staircase, stay the hell out.
  2. No matter what, stay together as a group.
  3. If a house has a reputation for being evil, don’t think it’ll let you leave unscathed, if it lets you leave at all.
  4. If there’s a creepy third floor room whose entrance has been bricked over, take note. There’s probably a reason and you probably don’t want to know what’s in there.
  5. If someone who you know is dead is standing before you asking you to do something really weird, it’s probably not them and you probably shouldn’t do that really weird thing.

I did find that there was a section around the middle of the book that I felt was a bit long-winded and slowed the pace down at a time when I was eager to just get back to the house and get some answers. I found the themes of Moore’s novels kinda out there but in terms of relating those to her backstory I did understand where she was coming from. I found something to like about all but one of the characters (Adudel). I really had a fun time reading this book and will most certainly be on the lookout for future novels by this author.

Biggest disappointment: Looking up Last One Out Kills the Lights on Goodreads because Sam makes it sound like my kind of horror short story book, only to find it doesn’t exist. Just to make sure I looked up the author’s name and found they do exist! Except they’re a romance novelist. ☹️

Favourite sentence:

“That may be the most perverse thing of all: ignoring the horror, even as it happens around you.”

Content warnings include domestic violence, self harm and suicide.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Inkshares for the opportunity to read this book. This is the second book I’ve read by this publisher and both were home runs.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, lies the Finch House. For years it has perched empty, abandoned, and overgrown – but soon the door will be opened for the first time in many decades. But something waits, 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 soon becomes a fight for survival – the entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek.

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