Sunday, October 18, 2015

Book Review: The End of the Sentence

I'm quite sure I wouldn't have selected this book to read on my own. As October's book club selection, The End of the Sentence did fit the bill for spooky, eerie, All Hallow's Eve fare. It was a subtle blend of supernatural terror and fairy-tale charm. However, in the end, I can't say that I would recommend this as a great read. The pages, while they did fly by quickly (it only took a short time to read the whole little novella), simply didn't appeal to me all that much.

Malcolm Mays is fleeing a terrible personal tragedy. He has purchased a small house and homestead in a remote location in Oregon. Yet, when he arrives, he is greeted by mail from an inmate at a nearby prison who claims to own the house. This inmate, Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, begs him to perform a personal favor for him before he returns at "the end of the sentence." The house seems to be possessed. It urges him forward in this mad dance of understanding what is required and deciding whether or not he will fulfill the request.

Thus the conflict is presented and the inner turmoil begins as the main character attempts to discern the best course of action while the clock ticks down to the inmate's anticipated release. The supernatural bits, while sufficiently creepy, failed to suck me in. The characters were flat and rather lifeless (then again, perhaps that was the point). The back cover promises "a deliciously creepy and atmospheric mashup of old myths and new twists." Creepy? Yes. Atmospheric? Yes. Delicious? No. I think if I were suggesting better October fare, I would recommend Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. That, to me, was creepy, atmospheric, and delicious.

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