And today, we get taken to the End of The Road by Todd Gresham!
Synopsis: Poor, crazy Henry. Driven to the End of The Road motel to nurse his steadily-worsening agoraphobia and a whole host of other issues. Poor, crazy Henry, already suffering hallucinations. Poor, crazy Henry, who looks out of his window at the wrong time. Poor, crazy Henry, who sees something he really shouldn’t, gets caught in something he really oughtn’t…
There’s much to like about The End of The Road. It takes a collection of horror clichés, and merrily plays with them. Not necessarily subverting, or slipping into wink-wink-nudge-nudge-see-what-I-did-there territory. Just, enjoyably so: The secluded location. The loner. The troubled past. The mental issues. Mysterious abductions. Friends with a troubled past. Conspiracies. Dark destinies, Memories, real and false. Voices in the head.
It’s easy to take horror standards like these and just coast with them.
Refreshingly, Gresham has chosen not to coast. Both Henry, our hero, and his friends are well-written. The dialogue, annoying tics and all, works – moreso when some reasons suggest themselves for the odd behaviour. Gresham’s characters, descriptions, dialogue, handling of tension, handling of action scenes are all very competent.
There are, of course, a few minor issues. (Gee, have I become that cynical already?) Some sentences should work, but oddly don’t. A couple of minor wording mistakes. Nothing to get worked up about. However, a couple of points worth noting:
There’s something about the build up of the mysterious characters outside the motel which… I don’t know. Just fails to grip me as much as it should.
There’s a very oddly titled interlude, which seems as much of a reminder from the author to himself as anything else.
The story takes a bit of a swerve from ‘mundane’ horror to the supernatural a little too late in the tale.
The set up is for a sequel/series. However, this gives a slightly disappointing ending to this novel. That may be entirely redeemed with the next publication.
These aren’t intended as outright criticisms. More like observations, based on my own taste. The horror, both mundane and supernatural I quite like in execution and delivery. They just don’t seem to go together as well as they should.
What it comes down to, though, is this: I enjoyed the story. I got wrapped up in it. I wasn’t jolted it out of it by some bad piece of writing. I empathised with the characters. There were a couple of nice twists and turns. And I want to see what happens next.
End of The Road is available at:
Description: The End of the Road Motel is a nightmare, and something worse than death dwells behind its locked doors. Something savage. Something heartless.
Henry Cohen, a man whose illnesses torture his every moment, has just discovered this horrible truth. And although he has the undying help of his closest friend, Henry must face the evil alone.
Witness his descent into madness. See the horrors of the human heart and the darkness that waits at the END OF THE ROAD.