Kristin Dearborn has been a frequent reader in the Vermont SF Writer’s Series, and at the last installment, she read the opening chapters of her novella, Woman in White. The book begins in rural Maine during a massive snow storm, and escalates as men in the town of Rocky Rhode begin to vanish.
Kristin’s opening chapters have the ability to grab readers much like the titular fixture in the story, and it sucks you in and refuses to let go until the end. The story features otherworldly horror in the form of a monster, but the real terrifying thing here isn’t the monster hunting the men of the town: it’s the relationships that many of the characters share with one another.
Some are abusive while others are controlling, and Dearborn puts together a horrifying portrait of small town rural America, one that either keeps people miserable within town limits, or who escape, never to look back. The book also echoes much of the rhetoric that has been on the rise in the country: how people should treat one another, especially regarding gender.
The story here is a mashup of both: horror in a small town. As the body count rises and the blood begins to flow, the novella races to the end in an ultimately satisfying conclusion. This is a book that could have been expanded from a novella to a novel: with a bit more time to develop the characters to play out, this would have been a strong novel. That said, the frantic pace from beginning to end kept me reading all the way to last page.
Woman in White is now available from DarkFuse.