Loss by Glen Krisch (Book Review)
Plot: After Angie Chandler’s husband dies in a car crash her life comes undone. Though her soul mate is gone, her memories of Paul linger as she tries to recover at their secluded wooded estate. Angie’s life spirals down a dark path of alcohol and pills. In the blur of constant self-medication, Angie is in no position to know what is happening to her. Is Paul haunting her? Has she gone mad? Or is there another possibility, something far worse?
My Review: When I was requested to read and review this Novella (a short story that is longer then your average short story, but not a full length novel) I read the description and was under the impression that it was a ghost story, or at least something “horrorish“ due to the title “Loss, a novella of psychological terror“.
Instead, this book is about a great loss caused to a woman, Angie, after her husband dies in a car accident. Angie swears she saw someone step out in front of the car, intentionally causing the accident. But the story really only brings that up twice. The story intelligently bounces around from the present to hours before the accident, and to when Angie and her husband first met, till while after the accident.
It’s a very dramatic story. And it is sad. Angie has just lost the love of her life, and you can really feel the emotion of the characters. Getting to know them and like them. Maybe it hit a little close to home for me as my cousin and his pregnant fiancé were just in a fatal car accident a month before reading this. Even though I hadn’t seen my cousin in years and didn’t really know him, the accident really shook me. He unbuckled his own seatbelt, to throw himself in front of her and his unborn babies, and because of this he died. Unfortunately the twins did not make it either, while his fiancé lived. I couldn’t imagine the terrible loss she was going through, and quite frankly I became terrified of getting into a car, or having my husband drive at all. I couldn’t imagine what loss I’d suffer if something ever happened to him. So even though I wasn’t going through the same things, I really thought about those feelings after that accident, and I revisited them while reading this story.
But, its not a ghost story. I think perhaps some scenes were supposed to come off as being supernatural, but I never got the vibe of them being that way. Instead, I was really just thinking “what the heck is going on here” and then “ok, this lady is just a pill popping alcoholic so she could just be seeing things” and then finally to “ok, someone is messing with her” but nothing was SCARY, and not once did I ever get the impression that there was a ghost, or that there was any sort ghostly activity. Which is what I thought I was getting myself into with this book. With the title being “Loss, a novella of psychological horror” I expected there to be some horror to it. Really the whole thing played out like Angie was in a drug induced state for the whole thing, because for the most part she WAS. There was nothing frightening except for when she woke up in her own bed after passing out in the woods.
It isn’t until 80% of the book where things get “weird” or “weirder”, and we quickly discover what is going on. It’s a “twist” that I suppose worked in theory, but I felt was executed badly. It felt like it was out of place, or not written the same way the rest of the book was written, like perhaps it was written by someone else. Its really hard to say what I’d like to say without spoiling the ending, which I don‘t want to do, and will not. But overall it felt like I was reading some other book by the end. The problem was that the whole book played out like a dramatic movie, and then all of the sudden at the end it was “intruder in the house” sort of feeling with a twist and I just felt like it was rushed and the dialogue out of place. The whole beginning of the book took so much time to get to know Paul and Angie and her thoughts and feelings on meeting him, marrying him, and then the loss of losing him that it just felt like it was never going to get to anything “spooky”, and really it never did. When it finally did become “supernatural” I honestly lost all interest because it just felt goofy by this point and was hard for me to picture or even get into.
Had the book just stayed the dramatic course I think I would have enjoyed it more. Or, if the author had contained more suspense and fear throughout the entire story it would have made the ending feel like it fit and wasn’t just slapped together.
Overall: While I enjoyed the first 70% of the story, I couldn’t help but wonder when it would turn into a thriller/horror sort of book. I would honestly say this was miscategorized and mistitled. I was baffled by other reviews stating this was a “horror” book. While the writing of the first two thirds of the book was beyond decent and really captured the emotions, the thriller aspect felt flat to me and just slapped on there. If you are a true horror movie/book fan and that’s what you are looking for, this is not it.