Book Review: The Fading Place by Mary SanGiovanni

20757990Title: The Fading Place

Author: Mary SanGiovanni

Genre: Horror, Novella, Dark Fiction

Rating: 2 stars

Publisher: DarkFuse

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Charlie Van Houten is a single mother running the usual weekend errands with her beautiful baby girl Haley, until a delusional gun-wielding woman named Simone takes them hostage in their own car. As they make their way to an unknown final destination, and Simone’s paranoia spirals further out of control, Charlie must stop a different kind of monster from taking away all that she loves.

The Fading Place was ‘meh’ all around. The premises is intriguing though: Charlie, a single mother, steps into her car with her infant daughter. Problem? A madwoman with a gun is already in the car, planning to kidnap Charlie’s daughter.

What begins is the longest car drive Charlie’s ever had. Between worrying over her child and figuring out what to do with the woman holding a gun to her head, and trying to make it out alive, she has way too many issues to deal with all at once. Then the woman, Simone, starts telling her about her life, and the depths of her insanity soon become clear…

Unfortunately a good premise doesn’t always mean a good book. This novella was a bit disappointing, because we never got too invested in the characters. I wanted to feel for Charlie, worry about her little girl, even feel some connection to the antagonist, but I never really got to know any of them, so I was left feeling hardly anything. A book like this one could be terrifying – even the thought of being abducted is horrible. But it all falls flat, and there’s too little emotion. The book is too predictable – I predicted the ending right from the start – the portayal of Simone isn’t convincing, Charlie’s panic doesn’t ring true.

Despite not liking it that much, I did like the writing. Mary SanGiovanni has a fluent, prozaic writing style. If the characters had more depth, I would’ve probably enjoyed this book more.


  1. It’s too bad you didn’t like this. I don’t know that I would have picked this up anyway. I don’t really like kidnapping stories for some reason. Great review though. You really explained what didn’t work in the story for you.


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