Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse is a novel I purchased on Amazon in December 2018 for USD 0.99. As of the date of this review, the price is US 9.49 and it has just over 300 reviews, 33% of which are five-star reviews. I think the author is good but is writing for a tough audience. Psychological thriller readers want something “never-been-done-before.” Philosophers will argue that is not possible so the author must come up with a different twist on familiar themes. I liked the story and gave it five Amazon stars. Because it had parts where the action was slow, I can see some readers knocking it down to four Amazon stars, but I was willing to give the story a chance. When it picks up the pace is good and is worth waiting (reading) for.
The Nightmares of Caitlin Lockyer by Demeza Carlton are truly scary because they are so horrible as fragments. Caitlin’s nightmares always end with an abrupt and screaming waking call to a rescuer she barely knows, Nathan. Caitlin remembers one thing clearly. Nathan, her rescuer, has promised he would never leave her side; he would always be there when she woke up, even in the several surgery rooms where doctors worked to restore her body to a semblance of what she was before her abduction and torture. Each sleep session, four or five per night, brings a few more memories about what happened to her, who tortured her, how many participated in the abduction, and how she was rescued (not escaped) from her captors.
Hide and Seek by Jack Ketchum is an emotional, action, horror story. That is in reverse order. The horror part of the story is based on a tried and true element, an ancient almost one-hundred-year-old abandoned house. Its original owners, Ben and Mary Crouch, had simply abandoned it. The brother and sister couple, both of whom were considered mentally feeble, had gotten behind on mortgage or tax payments. Warned of imminent foreclosure, they had simply disappeared. Perhaps they had taken some of their dogs with them, but twenty-three were left behind. Confined and hungry, they presented a challenge to the police officers who responded to a call based on neighbor complaints. After throwing food, some possibly tainted with drugs, into the house, the officers waited for the noise of dogs fighting for food to abate before entering the house. They found heaps of garbage, old newspapers, items that could only be considered junk, and general filth. The house remained empty until a doctor bought it, tried to renovate at least parts of it, but eventually gave up either out of frustration or perhaps due to a sinister implied threat from the disappeared Ben and Mary Crouch. Abandoned again, the house fascinated the curious, usually young, inhabitants of Dead River.