Morrow. Oct. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780063252240. $30. HORROR
DEBUT Cam is a struggling NYC writer whose debut novel flowed out of him in the aftermath of a terrifying nightmare, but it flopped soon after publication. Quinn, Cam’s girlfriend, is a bartender originally from Upstate NY who believes in the ghost stories from back home. When an eccentric woman from the prestigious creative writing program at Edenville College, near Quinn’s hometown, invites Cam to be a writer in residence, both Quinn and readers know it is a bad idea, yet Cam accepts. What follows is an entertainingly bonkers tale infused with so much unease and danger that it is literally dripping from Cam’s eyes. It is a story that explores the cosmic and folk horror tropes to their furthest reaches while also providing a scathing critique of academia, especially MFA programs, all wrapped up in one wild ride of a read.
VERDICT In his debut novel, Rebelein confidently writes in a sardonic tone, mixing humor with over-the-top cosmic horror, a combination that will appeal greatly to fans of We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix, but don’t sleep on the academic aspects, as also seen in Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas.
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