I love novellas, small enough to devour in one sitting, yet big enough so it doesn't feel like you have been short changed. When a novella is done properly it should distill the very essence of the story into one concentrated hit of pure storytelling.
The Waiting is the latest offering from Hunter Shea. From my previous experience of Shea's work I was expecting another balls to the wall, pedal to the metal all hell breaks loose powerhouse of action horror. To my surprise Hunter has put on the brakes, eased up on the gas, and written a much more measured novella.
Struck down on her wedding and rushed to hospital for life saving surgery, and trapped in a coma is not what I would imagine is not how most women would want their wedding to pan out. Sadly this is what happens to Cassandra,kept alive by hospital equipment and watched over by her loving husband Cassandra is trapped. But Brian isn't the only one watching over her. The phantom of a young boy also watches over her visible to her husband, is this by an angel or is he something much worse?
I was a big fan of Shea's previous works, he has repeatedly shown that he is a master of action horror, so does this change of pace and style work? Well you'll have to read on to find out....
The Waiting is one of those novellas that just gets under your skin, tightly written, deeply disturbing and one that packs an emotional punch that will floor you. This is a slow burning claustrophobic story that begins with a heart wrenching opening that will tear at your heart strings, then successfully layers on the tension and chills through a wonderful use slowly building terror to deliver a sharp accomplished ghost story that will chill you to the bone. Told mainly from the perspective of Brian, The Waiting is a very personal story of a man's anguish over his wife's slowly deteriorating condition. Shea skillfully intertwines the supernatural elements of the story with personal elements of the story. As Brian's sense of isolation and helplessness mounts so does the ever encroaching creepiness of the phantom. Shea cleverly keeps the reader wondering about the true nature of the phantom until the closing act of the book. This revelation when it comes is one of those revelations that will leave the reader reeling with shock.
This novella clearly show that Shea is a very talented writer, who is able to span many different sub genres of horror fiction. This an astutely insidious story that captivates the reader wholeheartedly.
Clinging to life, haunted by the dead.
Newlywed Cassandra Pagano lies in a state between life and death, her body fed and preserved by the machines at her side. While she struggles, unaware of the world around her, someone waits—a boy. A phantom that appears solid, real, alive. Cassandra’s husband, Brian, sees him in the house, by her bedside, running down darkened hallways. The boy walks without sound, whispers words that can’t be deciphered.
Terror and tension are driving Brian to the breaking point. Why is the boy there, and what does he want with Cassandra…and her fading soul?