An Ordinary Violence

Spiderline. Oct. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781487011888. pap. $18.99. HORROR
DEBUT Unwelcome memories and eerie visitations propel this haunting Indigenous horror debut. After the end of a relationship, 29-year-old Dawn has left the life she established in Toronto and returned to the house she once shared with her father in her small hometown. Her discomfort at being home is palpable in rich detail; her surroundings are seen, smelled, and felt. Her mother passed away when she was seven, though Dawn has heard her voice through the mouths of strangers for years. This haunting is soon the least of Dawn’s concerns as her brother Cody, who has been released from prison early, returns home as well and brings along a new friend with a suspicious presence and ominous intentions. The story jumps back and forth in time, which feels jarring initially, but a rhythmic flow is established as readers are guided by elegant, confident prose. A heavy cloud of what landed Cody in prison teases the edges of the story, reminders sprinkled among the plot points as moments of Dawn’s life are stitched together to paint a chilling picture of trauma, grief, and violence that is anything but ordinary.
VERDICT Great for fans of Erika T. Wurth and Stephen Graham Jones.
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