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 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 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 July 15, 2018
Would have liked to give this one four-stars or better, as the first half of the book started out great: strong characters, good atmosphere, creepy house with a kind of "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" backstory. Unfortunately, as it went into it's final, confusingly drawn out final act it became a mess. Characters running upstairs, downstairs, in and out of (and even under) the house, shedding any sense of the decisiveness they demonstrated in the first half of the novel, as if the author had become just as confused as his characters about where all this was heading and what it was about. The final 'explanation' had me scratching my head in a "Kind-of-sort-of-get-it, but kind-of-don't' way.

Scott Thomas is a very good writer with some very interesting ideas. His descriptive passages early on really pulled me into the story. As an author myself I know all to well what it's like to lose control of a tale, which is why I'd put the bulk of the blame on the editing - a good editor would have tightened the finale and its pacing - most the 2nd half of the novel felt like fluff - and made sure the 'secret' of the Kill Creek House made some sort of sense to the reader and that the characters stayed true to themselves throughout the book.

I'm curious to see what Mr. Thomas comes up with next.
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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 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 phone...you 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 July 23, 2018
This is a great book. I am bit of an odd reader. I grew up reading King and over the years have come to enjoy history and non-fiction as well as my favorite genre - horror. This book is one that will keep you reading, losing track of time while flipping the pages. I found myself looking at the clock and realizing I HAD to put the book down if I were to get a good night's sleep because I became so engrossed in the story and the progression of the characters' journey. I appreciated that there was not an over-abundant use of adverbs and descriptions that some writers -new and old- like to fill their pages with, seemingly to add content. A good story, complete with history, colorful characters, and "that house" many of us grew up hearing about. Not a lot of time in the book wasted on back-stories and character development. This book starts off with a background of the house and goes full-steam into the believable plights of it's characters. Great read!
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on June 20, 2018
I really hate to pan a writer or any written piece. As a writer I know the time and effort and blood it takes.

You can break this book down to two halves, the great first part and the massive letdown of the second.

The first part is terrific where Thomas sets the stage by introducing the major players, four horror writers and a web mogul who wants to take them to a supposed haunted house for a web cast. Everyone's motives are as different as the well delineated characters. As time goes on the house takes center stage. One of the really enjoyable subtexts is whether the mogul, Wainwright is somehow in league with the house. You just aren't sure.

The whole premise of the book, the writer's, the house, what happens and why is very original and interesting. Not easy to do with all the haunted house novels written over the years. I give Thomas big credit for that. Along with the good story he invents good characters, I found Sebastian, Moore and Sam the most intriguing.

So you may ask, where did it go wrong? Well that happened when Thomas turned his protagonists into morons in the second act. And this is where I hate what I'm writing but I need to be honest.

These writers go to this house. They experience certain things. Then when they come home they experience other bad things they know the house has made them do. So they need a reckoning with the house. Now that's fine. What wasn't fine was watching these various, fairly smart characters suddenly become slasher film teen caricatures. Any one who read this book knows one thing, no one, not one person alive who experienced what they did before returning to that house would ever go strolling around it alone. They would have been stuck to each other like glue. Terrified glue. Yet Thomas breaks out the old trope of sending characters out on their own, one for a smoke, one to look for others who have been gone a long time. Hello Friday the 13th. Goodbye smart writing.

The biggest problem with this is when a writer turns the main protagonists into idiots, you lose interest in them. You know what they are doing is so silly that it all loses credibility. And when a writer resort's to that kind of lazy plot device you wonder what he thinks of the readers.

It reminded me of Poltergeist. Terrific : movie till the end. Then this family that fought all these demons and finally get their daughter back decide to.... Spend one last night in the house because they were tired. WHAT!? Nobody who went through what that family did would have spent a second more in that house let alone a night. It was so stupid, so ridiculous, it ruined the whole movie.

And that's what Thomas does. The writer's act so stupid, it is so silly when they go back, wandering off alone it just destroys everything. No one would do that. Not after what they knew.

The other issue was the Moore reveal at the end. You can see it coming ten miles off. No surprise there and I'm not really sure if Thomas thought he was fooling readers or not. Could be he knew the readers would anticipate the exact ending.

Also wasn't sold on Moore wanting to end the pain. She survived the pain long ago and came out the other end a tough, smart cookie. Just didn't seem to fit with her.

This could have been a great ghost story. But for some reason Thomas just took a very easy, lazy, well worn path in his end game to get where he wanted to go. Too bad he didn't use the skill and imagination he did in the first half. You get the feeling he could have.
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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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