Bookish Witch

Loam by Scott Heim

Blurb (as on Amazon):

When three siblings return to their hometown for their estranged father’s funeral, burying the ghosts of the past proves to be impossible in this chilling story by the author of Mysterious Skin.

Forty years ago, triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward were swept up in a case of rural mass hysteria. Coerced into fabricating unspeakable lies about their first-grade teacher and her adult son, they were complicit in destroying two lives. Ever since, they have believed they are being followed by a presence still seeking retribution for their childhood sins. Unless their guilty consciences are conjuring as many monsters as their innocent minds once did.

Loam is part of Disorder, a collection of six short stories of living nightmares, chilling visions, and uncanny imagination that explore a world losing its balance in terrifying ways. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single disorienting sitting.

Pages: 41

Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Short Story

Format: Kindle eBook

Price: 129 INR/$1.99

My Rating: 4.5/5

Triplets, Miriam, Louise, and Edward are visiting their hometown after many years. It’s not a happy occasion though. They’re going to take care of the last rites and attend the funeral of their father. As they stop on the way, at a store where they can dispose of their father’s possessions, they come across some old photographs of their first-grade classmates. These take them back to some unpleasant memories from childhood. Is this an indication of what awaits them in town?

What I liked about the book:

  • The writing about the relationship between the triplets is very good. Their solidarity is one strong point that holds the story together as it progresses and tries to find its footing.
  • One can picture the eerie basement, the infamous cloakroom, the childhood lies and guilt, as the story unfolds which is quite disturbing and creepy.
  • It’s nicely written, entertaining, and a quick read.
  • As the siblings struggle to come to terms with the past and are fraught with tension, we as readers feel appropriately uncomfortable too.
  • With the right amount of creepy and scary elements, this strange short story shows the dangers of lies and how they can spread like weeds once they start.
  • The writing was well-done and the story is crafted in an interesting way, unfolding at a pace that hold’s the reader’s interest.
  • There is a strong underlying cautionary message standing out clearly that young children can be easily manipulated by adults and how this could affect their entire lives.

What I did not like about the book:

  • Much is made about the horrific father who we are told was brutal, cold, indifferent, et al. But there are no examples. So we are left wondering what all the hysteric about coming home to bury him was.
  • It ends where the reader may want everything perfectly spelled out.

Quotable quotes:

  • Eventually, we’ll all get our chance to ride in a hearse, whether we want it or not.
  • Over the years, our aversion to the place had crowded out any remaining nostalgia we’d once carried for our childhood.

Check out the book here:

Author’s social media handles:

I’m participating in Blogchatter’s #TBRChallenge

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