Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Soon by Lois Murphy

The town of Nebulah has been plagued by a strange mist for some time now. No one knows where it came from or what it is. They know when it started. They know it comes at night. And they know that anyone outside after dark will die a terrible death. They also know that even though no bodies have been found, the dead are cursed to come back in the mist thereafter. 

Pete is a retired cop who took over the only police position in Nebulah after his divorce. Forced to retire because of a cancer diagnosis, the town had been without any police force ever since. And now it doesn't matter. There are less than a dozen people left in Nebulah. 

Those few that remain have made a new routine around the mist. Many nights are spent as a group, gathered at one home or another, eating and drinking and distracting one another from their new reality. It's a life, such as it is. 

But then Pete saves a woman. A psychic who warns him that if he doesn't leave Nebulah before the summer solstice, it'll be his last. Pete is stubborn but it's the other folks in Nebulah he's more worried about, people who claim they'll never leave for one reason or another. And Pete won't abandon them. But as the solstice draws nearer, the psychic's warning seems more and more a possible reality. And Pete doesn't want to spend his last days in Nebulah at all. 

Soon is a pitch-perfect horror debut. 

Atmosphere is key in this one, as it is in all of my favorites of the genre. Set in an already remote town in Australia, in 1999, the book begins with one of the most affecting first lines I've read in a while:

The hardest thing, I sometimes think, is keeping track of time. With no school or shops there is nothing to define the days, and the weeks flow through the calendar like a sluggish river. You don't realise the importance of ritual, commonplace, until it's gone. 

As you might guess, they're affecting because they are something of a reality for many of us right at this moment! And it was impossible for me not to read this and draw connections to our Covid-19 year thus far. 

And while Soon would be a pretty bleak read any time, it is especially so right now. 

But I am either a glutton for punishment or, more likely, are better able to find distraction in horror even if the setting rings a little true to real life! 

I loved this book! Even though it is bleak. Pete and the others in Nebulah, the things they face—aside from the life threatening mist, everything about this book was such a great fit for me as a reader! I highly, highly recommend it if you're looking for an excellent horror that's packed with chilling atmosphere. The characters are perfect in their imperfection, so super well rounded and mired in problems that include family issues, mortality, and questions of morality as well. Like I said, I really loved it!

Can I take a minute to gush over the cover too! This is my favorite cover treatment of any book in quite some time! I just adore it—and it does set the tone for the book so well!

Order if from your favorite indie via Bookshop!

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