Friday, September 7, 2012

Thrall - by Mary SanGiovanni - A dying town that's not dead yet

4 of 5 Stars

I'm having a very difficult time writing this review.  Overall, I liked the story.  I found it original and compelling, but I also found it to be a bit wordy at times, and it seemed the characters kept finding themselves in the same situation in slightly different locations.  With that being said...

Thrall, is a small town in New Jersey.  A town that Jesse Coaglan was lucky to get away from.  In the author's words, "With time and distance, he thought he'd gained a good handle on what was real and what wasn't now...Like the black hole, for instance, that had opened up at the Grocer-Rite! over the dairy aisle, sucking in four shoppers, two cashiers, and a stockroom boy.  Or the phenomenon of the bleeding nuns...and then there was the night that blood streamed down Main Street..."

Jesse, figured he'd never be going back there, but a phone call from an ex-girlfriend changes his mind.  Jesse must return to Thrall.  He needs to save Mia and her young daughter, Caitlyn, from the town he escaped from.

Jesse asks his best friend, Nadia to make the trip from Ohio, to New Jersey where he finds his boyhood friend Tom keeping the monsters at bay. And indeed there are monsters.  There is also a mist-like cloud, the people of the town call The Raw.  It comes and goes, mostly showing up at night and those that wander into it generally don't come out, at least not in one piece.

Expect the weird in Thrall.  Weird, as in an entire apartment complex moving from one part of town to another.  Weird, as in a number of statues that seem to pre-date the town's earliest settlers, packed away for a number of years, suddenly back on display and no one knows how they got there.

Thrall is filled with memorable characters who find themselves wanting to get out of town, even if it kills them.  And you know what, it just might.

Thrall was originally published as a signed limited edition hardcover, but is now available for the masses as an e-book and is currently available for FREE from the Kindle Lending Library for Amazon Prime members and it's also available as a CD audiobook through AudioRealms’ horror imprint, Dark Realms.

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