There was a lot going on in the week following my purchase of this book, one I grabbed with great anticipation. So I saved it for the last few days to really savor the experience. Rachel Harrison’s The Return was a sneaky good read; I felt like I was on her storytelling wavelength and that helped overcome the many negative reviews that, I think, missed the point of her book.
And now she’s writing a book about returning home to a religious cult? Hell yeah, let’s go.
Hell yeah, indeed. This one rocked.
I won’t say much about the cult itself. This is definitely a less-you-kn0w-going-in kinda book. You’ll appreciate it a lot more as a potential reader.
I will say that Rachel Harrison does something that across genres really works for me: she creates an interesting protagonist, gives them real stakes, and has them work through it. I can read just about any story featuring a protagonist who interests me, even horror stories, of which I’m not normally a fan. I was sucked into this one from the beginning and it never really let me go.
Harrison seems to always be using horror to tell a larger story about life. In The Return, it was grief and friendship. In Black Sheep, it’s family and destiny. And the way she tells it is heart rending, even through the lens of horror, I genre I usually find silly or pornographic or both. I really cared about Vesper’s journey, up to and including the end. And I wanted good things for her even with all the revelations.
There are some requisite gory parts but I didn’t mind those because they fit the narrative of the story. If you like a lot of gore with your horror, Harrison’s thing is probably not your thing. If you like good characters, here’s your one stop shop.