What I gleaned about the story: Kimberly Archer is having a bad life. Or is it a bad afterlife? First she died, then she woke up in bed, her husband and baby son at her side. The only problem is, she isn’t married and she has no children. What the hell is going on?
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Analysis: Some books take forever to set the hook, but the good ones do it while you’re still getting settled. Rust starts out with a tiny little vignette, then an oddity, followed by another, more horrifying vignette. And I was with it every step of the way. That’s what good stories do – they become the world around you and you cannot help but follow where they lead, mesmerized and eager for more.
Note: I have now finished the book and enjoyed it from start to end. It’s a bit darker and more primal than most of the other horror books I’ve read in the last few years, but still manages to keep one foot firmly in normality. How does that work? I don’t know, but if I were going to try sum it up, I’d say it’s as if Stephen King spawned a love-beast from the dead and moldering remains of HP Lovecraft. Make of that what you will.
Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.