reviews from the archive – Decimated Dreams by Brennan LaFaro

Available: December 2022

Publisher: Crossroad Press

Slattery Falls was my first time reading LaFaro and I remembered wondering if he would be a reviewer/podcaster that could actually write or someone that gets by on their friends in the community. Luckily, I discovered LaFaro is a fantastic writer with a wonderful imagination. He’s apparently the whole package. I loved Slattery Falls and Noose (which is not part of this particular trilogy), so I couldn’t wait to start on the SF sequel, Decimated Dreams. I wasn’t expecting a kidnapping story, so I was immediately scared I’d have issues with the story (I’m very sensitive to violence with children in fiction). As it it turned out, you barely read about April at all, aside from talk of finding her (of course). This novella jumps right into the kidnapping immediately and sends the parents (the couple that survived in the first book) on a chase of sorts in locating Weeks, a ghost of sorts that they battled previously in Slattery Falls. The final third of the novel is very cool and twisty, with a cliffhanger ending that leaves you howling, “Oh, shit! Noooooo.” Of course, in the interest of providing my full experience for this review, I will note the negatives I had with the book. Though the parents are indeed searching for their daughter the whole time, they do so at what I would consider a very relaxed pace. Had my kid been taken, I would have been clawing at the doors to let me through, every one of them, and I would have been a frantic mess the entire time. But these parents have their wits about them always and let days go by without really showing mental breakdowns. This kind of took me out of the story a lot because I just found it miserable the parents weren’t the messes they should have been. Otherwise, Decimated Dreams is well-written, engaging, mysterious, and strange in a very good way. That ending has especially left me dying for book three. I can’t wait for the conclusion! ~ 4 out of 5

Published by Aiden Merchant

Aiden Merchant is the author more than forty stories, including those found within SICKNESS IS IN SEASON, HORRIFIC HOLIDAYS, and DOCUMENTING DREADFUL EXISTENCES. He is also the author of the crime-fic novella CROSSING RED, and the lead editor and publisher of BLACKBERRY BLOOD (an anthology edited alongside Julia C. Lewis), MILK TEETH (a novella by Andrew Post), and RISE ABOVE (a community sampler). His alter ego, Wesley Winters, leans more toward the extreme and absurd. His debut horror series is appropriately titled FUCKED, and will debut in 2023 with ARTIFACT OF THE EYE and later FEED THE SKY.

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