What Kind of Mother

Quirk. Sept. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781683693802. $21.99. HORROR
Having fled her hometown of Brandywine, VA, as a pregnant teenager, palm reader Madi returns years later so that her teenage daughter can connect with her birth father. When Madi encounters her high school boyfriend Henry, a fisherman who’s been searching for his kidnapped son and mourning his dead wife, she reads his palm and experiences disturbing images of the water and the boy, visions that have physical manifestations. Chapman immediately introduces suspense, hooking readers with Madi’s engaging but increasingly unstable narration, confidently and deliberately steering the tone from uneasy to weird to terrifying with a twist that readers won’t see coming. A disorienting, immersive, and thought-provoking contemplation of hope, grief, and guilt that traps its audience in a net of visceral and palpable horror.
VERDICT Chapman (Ghost Eaters) is becoming a not-to-miss horror novelist. Suggest this one to a varied audience of fans who enjoy intense psychological tales like Paul Tremblay’s The Pallbearers Club, body horror like Ahmed Saadawi’s Frankenstein in Baghdad, and parental horror like Zoje Stage’s Baby Teeth; don’t forget fans of the pulp classic “Clickers” series, originated by J.F. Gonzalez.
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