The Screaming Child

Ghoulish Bks. Jul. 2023. 200p. ISBN 9781943720873. pap. $16.99. HORROR
Eleanor and Bill are parents of 12-year-old Grahame, a precocious boy who is obsessed with detective novels and is now missing. Eleanor feels guilt for her inattentiveness to her son and unresolved anger toward Bill. She is compelled to escape the city for a shack in the wilderness, near the mysterious timberland, where the subject of the book she’s writing, a woman explorer, went missing. Soon after arriving, she begins to hear the screams of a child in the night and realizes she must go into the dangerous woods for answers. Presenting itself as a run-of-the-mill missing-child thriller, this novella from Adlerberg (Jack Waters) hauntingly transforms into an emotionally resonant portrait of grief, a psychological study of one woman’s attempt to come to terms with a horror that may never have resolution. Some readers may get caught up in whether the horrors in the timberland are real or not, but that is clearly not the author’s focus.
VERDICT A great suggestion for readers who enjoy the atmospheric, horror-adjacent novels of Simone St. James or psychological horror such as Petra’s Ghost by C.S. O’Cinneide.
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