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on February 16, 2018
KILL CREEK, by Scott Thomas, is apparently his first novel.  After reading that, I was positively stunned.  I went into this book without any preconceived notions, and ended with giving it a full five-star rating.  For any novel, this was fantastic--when you factor in the knowledge that it was the author's debut, it's astonishing!

"No house is born bad . . . "

The premise of KILL CREEK begins with a billionaire's horror-loving son's podcast, in which he strives to bring the horror genre back into the mainstream.  Justin Wainwright arranges to get four vastly different-styled horror authors together on Halloween--in a reputedly haunted house--to do a live "interview" with them.

". . . Sometimes stories have too much power.  They change who people think you are."

The set up for this particular story was quite original.  Instead of your standard-fare haunted house, the author insures that there is no neat, definitive explanation  as to how--or even, if--the old Finch House on Kill Creek is haunted.  All we, and the characters, have to go on is atmosphere and ancient, ambiguous rumors.  The only thing known for certain is that two sisters, Rachel and Rebecca Finch, were the last to own, live--and die--there.  According to the will of the last living sister, everything in the home, including the furnishings, were to remain exactly as they were when she died.

"Funny thing about rumors . . . It doesn't matter if they're true or false, only that people believe them."

Aside from the initial builder's death, anything else concerning a "haunting" nature is pure conjecture, with absolutely nothing grounded in a factual basis to back it up.  Yet despite this, just being in the proximity of this large estate is enough to give anyone pause.

". . . Its very existence seemed impossible without the help of the supernatural."

Thomas does a superb job in the characterizing of each of the novel's main characters.  I could easily differentiate between the four novelists, and felt that even their backstories were woven into the story in a seamless, natural manner.  I "felt" each of these personalities, and by the end of the book, it was as if I had known them intimately for years.  Even the arrogant Wainwright and his "assistant", Kate, fit into the story so perfectly, that the entire project had a sense of "reality" to it that I find missing in so many novels.

". . . If you believe it's real, then it's real."

Another thing that this book has going for it is an indisputable, uneasy atmosphere that actually caused me to break out in goosebumps a couple of times.

". . . The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear . . ."

Thomas' descriptions of eerie silences, muted noises, half-glimpsed shadows, and little more than what amounted to rumors about the old estate are what drives the readers' minds to enter into that "terror zone", in which just about anything--real or supernatural in origin--is not only possible, but expected . . .

". . . When our fate is uncertain, our minds naturally lead us to the worst possible scenario . . . "

By NOT giving us a tangible menace, Thomas makes his novel even more frightening because the ambiguous nature causes our minds to automatically expect the worst, and most evil haunting presence possible.  This technique worked extraordinarily well, in my opinion, and gave me the feeling that the tension and suspense just continued to ratchet up all throughout the story.  Not once did I feel as if the supernatural element "let up", or left our characters alone for even a moment.

"The insects won't cross the creek.  They won't come over to this side."

Overall, this is one of the best novels I've read this year in terms of suspense, tension, fear, and realistic characters.  Just when I thought I'd figured out part of the story, something else would come up to derail my current thoughts.  This book commanded my complete attention each time I picked it up, and not once did my excitement wane.

"Perhaps the house is waking up . . . "

If this is Scott Thomas' first novel, then I can only imagine what his future might bring.

Highest recommendation!
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on February 12, 2018
I loved this novel. I bought it in Kindle and audio book, and read then listened to it. Scott Thomas does something that many writers, especially of this genre, fail at. I cared about the characters. I identified them worth real world (to me) inspiration and I cared what happened to them in their (sometimes) gruesome ends. I wanted to know their stories, I felt intirigued by their desires and motives. So I felt something rare. True horror.

While I will agree that the descriptive similes reminded me too much of At the Mountains of Madness (too much atmosphere, no real action at times), the characters, overall story, and unexpected ending made up for it in spades.

If you’re unsure, listen to it in audiobook. The narrator really brings these characters to life. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

TL;DR Just read it. Or listen to it. If you like a good haunted house story, you won’t be sorry.
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on April 28, 2018
If you haven't heard the hype surrounding this book, you might be one of those annoying people who exists off the grid enough that you never installed a social media app on your smart phone because you don't even *have* a smart still have a rotary phone and an answering machine. "Leave a message at the beeeeeeep."
Seriously. This is why I'm a huge fan of horror. And this book is also a good example of why horror has ruined me for every other genre. I'm addicted to the thrills, the chills and the blood spills!
Of which Scott Thomas gives in abundance.
Probably the most shocking thing about this story, (NO SPOILER-KEEP READING) is that this is Scott's first novel. What the what?!
My first praise is for Inkshares: what a gorgeous book design. I have a paperback-ish edition and the glossy, sleek "jacket" is a wrap around cover with "dust jacket" folds for the synopsis and the author bio. The edges are deckled (yes!) and the title page is bold and interesting. I loved the font and the cover graphic too. Sorry! I've been obsessed with book design lately.
Okay, so this book is told in four main parts with some fun stuff at the end.
Part one was the best horror book set up for a haunted house tale, EVER.
Part two was fun because we got to explore some character development and such, which--let me say--I love the characters. I especially liked Sam who personified any up and coming, modern horror writer these days. ( I had a wee crush on him)
TC Moore grew on me but I didn't especially like her at first. I don't like women with a huge chip on their shoulder but she grew on me. A lot.
Sebastian Cole is like your Stephen King or Peter Straub, you know, a best selling-older gentleman vibe and then Daniel Slaughter is our R L Stein. (for some reason I pictured Josh Malerman and his fiance, Alison for Wrainwright and Kate. Ha!)
(not getting into the plot because it's something you just jump into blind)
Part three was great--lots of haunted house fun.
Part four was like: Hold on to your (edited for Amazon)
And then the last part of the book was a perfect wrap up. I loved the ending to the ending.
I'm not sure why anyone would have any complaints. This is the most fun I've had reading a book, ever. I looked forward to getting in bed and letting the story crawl under my skin every night.
*End Message*
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on March 11, 2018
The book was a creepy, gothic style haunting told through 4 different POVs. Four authors are brought together for the purpose on an interview in a reputedly haunted house in Kansas. Brought together by a web entrepreneur from a Breitbart type webpage but based on the paranormal instead of the political. The story went well until the ending was spoiled about 75% through. That ruined an otherwise pleasant read for me. It just unraveled from that point and there were no surprises from them on out. I would be interested in reading more from this author. The next might be better.
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on June 17, 2018
Reading this book reminded me why I love Instagram and the book community that exists there there. Without those amazing readers and people, I don't think I ever would have known about this book, and what a shame that would have been.

This book has been quietly making the rounds on social media since its Halloween release last year, growing little by little by word of mouth, but it isn't a huge title from some publishing titan. It doesn't have some big backing, but it does have its own merit and the people who have read it, telling you, "you need to pick up this book."

A perfect premise: four renowned horror authors spending Halloween in a supposedly haunted house with a rich media mogul who wants them to share their literary knowledge with the world.

But what begins as a heavy-handed publicity stunt follows each of them home in a different way, forcing dark fingers into the crevices of each of their lives. What exactly is it about the house on Kill Creek? What's living there? Dead or alive? And what does it want with the writers?

Thomas has a raw talent and this book pulses with true life. I leaned in to this book as I haven't with a newer book for quite some time, really getting invested in the story, the characters, and the house.

I love a haunted house story; it is probably my favorite type of horror tale. Kill Creek is not only an interesting, involved, scary, and unique story, it completely reinvents the concept.

From the start, it is apparent that the author knows his stuff about horror. I felt safe in the hands of someone who had his main character rattling off about The Mysteries of Udolpho, Freddy Krueger, and Polanski's The Tenant within the first few pages of the book.

And not only that, but the prologue to the book is an obvious homage to Shirley Jackson's most perfect haunted house book, The Haunting of Hill House. Almost beat for beat, he reconstructs his house on Kill Creek the same way she brought together Hill House, how it seemed to create itself "flying together into its own powerful pattern."

And that's the way this book felt—formed so tightly that it nearly flew together of its own volition—a story that had to be told.

As far as the plot goes, I loved the four writers and how they echoed real writers (or at least bits of them). Daniel Slaughter with his Christian-leaning Goosebumps-type series, Sebastian Cole with his Stephen King–like influence, T. C. Moore with her Jack Ketchum–level grossness and Clive Barker weirdness, and Sam McGarver (the main character), who seemed to be more of an amalgam or middle man, perhaps influenced by the Southern gothic William Gay, but more mainstream. (Any ideas?)

In any case, I loved seeing them interact, come together, and even just hearing about their books. I'd read one of each, especially that Cole book A Thinly Cast Shadow that everyone seems so keen on. Perhaps Thomas has something up his sleeve in this direction (oh, please!!), as he obviously has lots of great horror plot ideas. I definitely don't expect this to be his last foray into the genre.

If a story can get you invested in the stories that it isn't telling, you know that's a good book. And I'm telling you, that's only the beginning.

Where this book goes is not what I expected. I figured it would be a fairly straightforward creepy haunted house, bump-in-the-night type of read. Not true at all. This plot has much more to offer, ideas that will expand how you think about hauntings, old places, and maybe even your own home.

I can only tell you to go out and get this book. If you like it, pass on the love to someone else. This one deserves to be read.
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on April 5, 2018
If I were to have read the premise alone it wouldnt exactly be the first one I would pick up in my to read stack. I mean horror writers getting together to go to a haunted house, how entertaining could that be. So after favorable reviews from two horror loving reviewers I follow I decided to give Kill Creek a chance, and what a delight. This book has it all. The character development is well thought out and I find my self fearing for them. The descriptive writing is very visual. Last but not least it was an entertaining ride. This was my first haunted house book I have read and any other that comes after is going to have a lot to live up too.
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on January 17, 2018
Chills constantly. Twist and turns. Felt like I was having an adrenaline rush through every chapter. Scott Thomas has a hauntingly impeccable way with detail. I have officially inspired several people to buy and read this book after seeing my reactions and shortness of breath upon reading and describing small details of it. Absolutely recommend if you are into horror and reaching dark recesses in your mind that make you remember what you're truly afraid of.
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on April 13, 2018
I bought this book because I had just finished one that was so horrible that I had to get the ugly taste out of my mouth, so to speak. Never heard of this author, but the sample I downloaded was interesting. I really wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful characters and their interesting back stories. The house was scary and I thought about halfway through that this was going to be your average ghost story with no surprise twists. The story was a little bit predictable, but seriously, haunted house stories have to be a bit predictable. I enjoyed every minute and don't want to post any spoilers for those that are about to embark on this journey. I think the ending was almost Stephen King like in the way that no character is safe as the tale spins out to the conclusion. It is what it is.
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on December 27, 2017
This novels delivers as a real horror story. It's one of those books that draws you in and you can't wait to turn the next page. Really good horror novels are few. I love haunted houses! I hope the author has a few more stories to tell.
I enjoyed learning about the characters - the things in their pasts that shaped them - things that the house could use against them. It is ironic that 4 horror novelists end up as characters in their own horror story.
Just the read the book! You'll love it!
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on April 18, 2018
I figured this novel to be your generic bump-in-the-night horror story. Scott Thomas delivered that and more. What I didn't expect was to really attach myself to the group of writers who brave the night at a supposedly haunted house. I loved how the house followed them, lingered around them long after their departure from Kill Creek.
The climax was fast, haunting, and brutal. But the ending...Even though i assumed as much i found myself still enjoying how Scott chooses to say goodbye.
If you're looking for a well written haunted house novel with great, interesting characters and back stories, well here you are...and it doesn't disappoint!
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