Thursday, September 26, 2013

What Hides Within by Jason Parent

What Hides Within is a solid debut horror novel built on a mystery/suspense engine. The author manages to combine serial bomber, child murderer, and supernatural plotlines effectively. There were a few times where I thought the characters made odd choices that seemed to only serve the plot instead of doing what you’d think any average Joe would do in the given situation. Well, as it turned out, (in almost all instances, I’d say), these “bugs” in the narrative turned out to be “features” later on. The novel starts out with a fair dose of humor mixed in with the darkness. Some bits fell flat, but others made me laugh out loud. (The effectiveness of humor in fiction is largely subjective. So don’t let this deter you from picking this up.) But as the narrative progresses, things get increasingly darker and more tense until the pages really start flying by. I had several theories as to “what’s really going on” and I’m happy to say that all of them were wrong. There are so many things that I’d really like to cite as reasons why I thought this novel was so successful but can’t because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who might pick this up. I’ll just say that the ending is of a sort that you don’t see very often in full-length works of horror fiction.

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