A bunch of grisly murders involving all the victims’ genitalia being savagely ravaged (that’s a fun phrase when it’s not about you, isn’t it? It kinda just rolls off the tongue) occur in the small, remote town of Thussock. As dumb luck would have it, these murders only begin after Scott Griffith and his blended family move to this tiny town, as they run away from their own terrible secrets in the hopes of beginning anew. But things don’t go the way they want them to go, for a myriad of reasons. For the teenagers, this is hardly the town that they want to be in, there’s patchy cell phone service, they have to start at a new school and they’re further away from their father. For the mother Michelle, she’s finding it difficult to break into the sparse little social scene that there is (in the form of a toddler/mommy play group) because the people are standoffish and happy to leave her to her “otherness”. She’s also stressed beyond belief because her husband has sunk their money into an older home, that needs a ton of renovation and because they cut ties with their old lives neither of them have jobs. Scott Griffith, though? That guy? He’s ever the optimist. According to him, he’s the glue that holds the family together, the rock that all must cling to…or maybe he needs to tell himself that just to sleep. The fact that the murders begin and escalate as the family moves into town really doesn’t ingratiate the family to the town. As the fear escalates, and all in the town are brought together we see that this is more than a horror story, this is more of sociological experiment. When the shit hits the fan, who are you going to trust? The lady who’s been living next door to you for the last 15 years or the guy with the short temper who just moved in and seems like a loose cannon?
This was a good book, but it wasn’t what I was expecting or how I thought it was framed. I thought that this was a horror story…and in a sense it is, but in reality, it’s more of piece about human interaction. So, I was disappointed, but not by the book as much as what I wanted the book to be (if that makes sense). In terms of horror, I was actually disappointed because the book actually references two different movies that I think the book was emulating but actually failing to capture–Slither and the Thing. The Thing (1982) was one of the first movies I ever saw (after the Fox and the Hound) because I was supposed to be sleeping in the back of the car at the drive-in. I’ve been captivated by that movie ever since and when I saw someone else reference the Thing when reading a review on Goodreads, I went in with very different expectations than what the book actually delivers. That’s definitely not the book’s fault. Read the book, just don’t go in thinking of it in terms of a horror novel. Horror is an element, the ultimate “horror” here is not what’s killing the people, but the people themselves…or something like that (this is me just being bitter here). I just wanted some epic showdown when a hero does battle with some intergalactic alien from outer space with some sweet John Carpenter synth music taking us to an ambiguously bleak closing. I won’t tell you what kind of ending you’ll get from the book, but Carpenter’s score is definitely not on the table, more’s the pity.