I meant to review every book of Horror Month separately but I happened to consecutively read these two and they both feature women going through…transformations. So I figured it made sense to talk about them both on one page.
This is billed as a horror mystery but aside from a woman’s weird psychosomatic fascination with a snake, there’s not much in the way of horror, if that even qualifies as horror. That’s okay though; this is an interesting enough mystery tale with shifting timelines. I’m usually bearish on that as it doesn’t leave a lot of room for character development but Silje Ulstein does a good job drawing them out, along with the plot. This goes along with the better nordic noir efforts I’ve read. Nothing exceptional but got the job done and I wouldn’t pass up another chance to read Ulstein’s work.
I love Sara Gran’s writing.
This could be a conventional tale about how a woman is slowly taken over by a demon, possessed. But Gran’s version is far earthier, and thus more frightening. Amanda’s troubles are parsed out slowly but surely, creeping to the surface, abutting the natural world in a way that could be felt. You know what’s coming and that’s not the point, it’s the journey on how to get there. Gran is so good with these quick, intense reads, between this and her excellent noir Dope, which made me get into her work after many false starts with the Clare DeWitt series (which I’ve also come to love). By the end, you’re connected with someone who has been emptied and refilled, resigned to her present. A great book.