Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review: Gillian's Marsh by Michael Faun

While running from her abusive father, Louella Lee Wishum is rescued by the woodsman Red Swanson, who takes her in. Meanwhile, back in Louella Lee's hometown of Gillianswick, the sergeant constable Cyrus Reiterman suspects that witchcraft is behind the disappearance of several men in the town.
Louella Lee drops the bucket of water and falls down her knees. She whimpers as the cold brook water gushes out over the path and the transparent tendrils soak her dress. Her stomach hurts so much she wants to take a knife and cut out her uterus.
It would be easy to compare Gillian's Marsh to the works of authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Edward Lee, and Brian Keene. All of them are obvious influences. Despite that, Faun very much feels like he's doing his own thing in terms of writing supernatural horror. Images of Satanism and witchcraft run throughout the story, but it never feels derivative.

Faun's writing conjures up some vivid and often very unpleasant images in the way a horror story like this should. He never piles it on too thick, so the grotesque parts never feel ridiculous or gratuitous. They have just the right amount of punch to them.
By the time they reached the Blood Oak, the man's whining had stopped. Red's knuckles had proven a perfect cure to ridden the missionary of his useless words and prayers.
The ancient tree looked famished. Her boils were sagging, drained of the precious milk she needed to live. Even her scarlet bark was flaking. She looked altogether haggard and Red felt a twinge of sadness in his heart. 
The plot moves along at a good clip and keeps you turning the page. Even the diversions to dreams and journal entries don't slow things down. Faun has tight control on the story. Given it's a short work, it's easy to finish within a couple hours.

Overall, Gillian's Marsh is just really fun to read. It's an entertaining work by a very skilled author with a deep love for the horror genre. If you enjoy horror, this novella is well worth reading.

Buy Gillian's Marsh by Michael Faun here.

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