Ok, now that 2020 is finally dead and gone, let’s try to go back to normal life? Well, for me it has been forever since I put out a review/blogpost. So, let’s start with some of my backlog from last year, I better start doing some writing then! Anyways, first out is Scavenger Summer by Steven Savile, published by Horrific Tales Publishing.
“Scavenger Summer” by Steven Savile:
It’s the summer of 1986 and 15-year-old Danny is with his family is on a vacation in a holiday camp in Ayr. It’s a vacation filled with first experiences and excitement, that is until he and his friends find his mother dead and washed up on the beach.
Ok, at first glance this does not look like your usual Horrific Tales book, this feels more like a coming-of-age YA crime thriller. That is until you reach the end of the first chapter, then you get that “ooookay, now we are in Horrific Tales Publishing territory”. No, it is not a YA crime thriller, this is a disturbing horror novella. After the first chapter is a fast-paced story that devolves into uncertainty, you are left guessing what is real and what is imagined, or whether everything is in fact real. From the get-go the protagonist admits that he is an unreliable narrator which kind of confirms that it can all be imagined, however, as the story unfolds you get the sense that it is all true and not just someone devolving into insanity. This adds to the unsettling feeling you get from reading the book; the uncertainty just adds another level to the dread.
Whilst this is a horror story it is also of a coming-of-age story. There is a sense of wonder and exploration, derived from first experiences that one has in their young teenage years, from first sexual experiences to discovering a secret place with friends. Just add some horror and death to spice things up a bit and to create a rather unforgettable tale. So, for me “Scavenger Summer” goes on the list of the best coming-of-age stories.
The only thing I have to gripe about in this book is that at times, the pace is a bit too fast at times. I feel it could have done with a few calmer bits spread throughout, but then again, I am just greedy and don’t want my reading experience to end, so when I read something that I enjoy then I just want it to go on and on. Unfortunately, that is just not always feasible.
All in all, this is another solid release from Horrific Tales and I need to read more of Steven Savile’s work.
I give this book a 4/5 liquid puddles of black oil.