I’ve read a few of Kristin Dearborn’s short stories and enjoyed them. I read her novella, Sacrifice Island, and I loved it. And now, I get this novella, Woman in White. Let me say this, this lady can write her ass off. She tells a story in a way that’s not overly writerly. By which I mean that she’s not throwing literary words in the readers face or writing above her head. That’s not to say she couldn’t if she wanted to, I’d bet it’s quite the contrary. The thing I like is that it’s just a great writer telling a fantastic story so that everyone can get it. The person who first comes to mind for me in this style is Stephen King. And to further equate it to people I admire…I liken her style to that of my favorite guitar player, Slash. He can fucking play, but what he does best, and better than anyone, is play within the song. He does exactly what fits the song instead of trying to show off. That’s exactly what Dearborn excels at within the framework of this fun, engaging, and terrifying tale.
From the opening chapter where a woman in white stands in the middle of a snow-covered road, and the unfortunate thing that happens to Dennis, to the cast of characters, each one as real as you and I, Dearborn is off and running and bringing the fictional Maine town of Rocky Rhodes and it’s bizarre troubles to life.
A rash of disappearances where the only thing left behind is loads of the victims’ blood, stirs up the small community. Inside this mystery, we get real people with real problems. A girl who has an abortion in this tiny town without secrets, shunned and shamed by people she’s grown up with her entire life. Her ex-boyfriend is a jealous no good asshole, and her boss at the diner is truly a hero in waiting. Officer Staghorn (what a great name!) and Lee Dudley, a forensic chemist who just so happens to be sleeping with the married officer, are sent up to Rocky Rhodes to see if they can make any sense of the missing bodies and/or the blood left behind. It isn’t long before these two are ensnared in the mayhem and the madness descending upon this small town.
The way Dearborn paints this frozen town in the grips of a Maine winter will have you chilled to the bone as much as the horrible creature haunting its population. I couldn’t help but be reminded of some of my favorite films and novels. The disappearances brought back that unsettling feeling I got the first time I read ‘Salem’s Lot. The snow and isolation, along with the fear and paranoia of what the hell is out here with us gave me flashbacks of John Carpenter’s The Thing. The overall vibe and style also reminded me of Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher (the novel, not the terrible adaptation).
I don’t do spoilers, so I won’t give anything away. Just believe me…. if you love King, if you enjoyed The Thing, you cannot miss this read! One of the best novellas I’ve had the pleasure of reading and certainly an early contender for my 2016 Top Ten list.
I give Woman in White 5-Stars!
Woman in White by Kristin Dearborn
Available: Feb 4, 2016
Format: eBook ($2.99)
Rocky Rhodes, Maine.
As a fierce snowstorm descends upon the sleepy little town, a Good Samaritan stops to help a catatonic woman sitting in the middle of the icy road, and is never seen or heard from again. When the police find his car, it is splattered in more blood than the human body can hold.
While the storm rages on, the wave of disappearances continue, the victims sharing only one commonality: they are all male. Now it’s up to three young women to figure out who or what is responsible: a forensic chemist, a waitress struggling with an abusive boyfriend, and a gamer coping with the loss of her lover.
Their search will lead them on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors that are all connected to a mysterious Woman in White.
“Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” —Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards
“Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” —Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night
“Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure
If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She’s written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!), she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Find more on Kristin at http://kristindearborn.com/.