In Snare – The Waiting Dark (Published 2015 by Permuted Press), author Carrie Nelkin delivers a truly unsettling tale of paranormal horror and intrigue that does not disappoint.
Nelkin doesn’t cut any corners with cheap scares, building the terror slowly and subtly with a finely measured approach. Page by page, she gradually introduces us to a dark, supernatural force which, like the shape-shifting entity of Peter Straub’s novel Ghost Story, possesses unnatural knowledge of its victims, presenting itself in the guise of personal fears/nightmares. (The horror lies in the self reflective nature of the aberrations. )
As so much of plot lies in character, Nelkin fleshes out a well developed band of personalities surrounding our tortured protagonist, Fortune Viaggio. (The story is rich with complex female characters, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson’s work.)
We find an artfully crafted antagonist in the fallen priest Guenther Ives. Possessed by his own black desires/motivations, he terrifies in his carefully calculated, methodical behavior, weaving a twisted web of atrocities and proving a worthy adversary to our protagonist.
As far as setting is concerned, the story is wonderfully vivid and varied in scope, but the central location is that of the apartment building Fortune is occupying. Nelkin turns a New York brownstone into a living organism, the haunting ground of this supernatural force. Objects moving on their own, foul unidentifiable odors, unexplained noises, unnatural shadowplay and other visual manifestations, walls secreting a nasty sludge—the place is like a bad acid trip, and can very much be considered a character/antagonist of its own.
The story moves at a brisk, clipped pace, rarely dragging, generating an air of encroaching menace that mounts and builds layer upon layer, ultimately reaching a heart-pounding culmination of collective horror.
Do not pass up this highly satisfying journey into the dark.
Buy the book here.
Review Written by W.J. Renehan