It is always a delicate dance when two writers take on the task of co-authoring a book. There is never any guarantee that the final product will ring true, that the artists will complement each other. Thankfully, in this case, T.D. Trask and Dale Elster have developed a common language and style in crafting a truly disturbing collection of short tales.
Welcome to Rock Creek, the focal point of strange occurrences and horrors beyond the ken of man. From the cold onset of death to the nightmare of mental illness, from otherworldly aberrations to psychic visions, from demonic possession to natural disasters, from deals with the devil to supernatural showdowns—it’s all here.
The style of writing is gritty and concise with no frills, both writers telling it like it is, delivering short, easily digested bursts of horror. Not a word is wasted in contributing to the singular effect of the overall mood—that of dread. A touch of dark humor pervades the stories, though never overpowering them. But their real success lies in the generation of atmosphere, shading an entire community with an overwhelming sense of menace. There is a cancer at the heart of Rock Creek, something that draws and inspires evil, manifesting itself in a highly subjective manner. Indeed, that is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the stories, the personalized manner in which the nightmares are realized.
All the stories are great, but a few standouts include: “Knacker Man,” “What Happened on Black Hill Road,” “Still Water,” “The Other Redeemer,” and “Dead Bird Waltz.”
Trask and Elster have really achieved something here—they have set an example for writers everywhere: work together, experiment, get weird. There’s no reason this can’t be a team sport.
Certainly one for your collection.
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Review written by W.J. Renehan