Book Review: Ash and Bone by Lisa von Biela

20984204Title: Ash and Bone
Author: Lisa von Biela
Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction, Novella
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 3 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Every town hides secrets…and Cromwell Bay is no exception.
Eileen Maroni is running from her past, but she envisions a new life in the tough little fishing village, where no one knows who she is—including the police.
Frank Foster just buried his best friend, and is struggling to come to terms with the devastating loss and his own self-doubt.
Nothing will ever be the same for them again when their paths cross at the Harbor Motel, and they learn what lies behind the door of room #8.

DarkFuse puts out a book just about every week, and they’re always a delight. Ash and Bone is no different, although it feels a bit rushed. It’s a novella, but could’ve easily expanded into a novel. The plot builds up to this epic climax, and then…boom. Done. Just like that. I kind of expected more, to be honest.

Anyway, back to the plot. Eileen Maroni is running away from her past. When she ends up in the charming fishing village of Cromwell Bay, she wants to carve a new future for herself, even a new identity. She stumbles upon Harbor Motel, an abandoned motel up for sale. Being impulsive, she buys it, and decides to freshen it up and run the motel herself. But as soon as she opens up, guests start complaining about room number eight. Nobody wants to stay there for very long. Frank Foster is trying to come to terms with losing his best friend, and doubting himself. He decides to check in at the motel, and gets room eight. Tormented by strange sightings in the darkest hours of the night, Frank wants to discover the truth about room eight, and it’s history.

Ash and Bone has everything needed for a sublime ghost story: a rundown motel, troubled protagonists with secrets in their past, a haunted room, and a chilly, eerie atmosphere that grabs you around the throat from the get-go. Unfortunately, it falls short. The ending is rushed. There’s so much wasted potential. Things get mentioned once, and then are forgotten, even though they could’ve made excellent side plots. There’s so much tension leading up to the climax, and then it all falls into one big heap, and doesn’t rise to meet expectations. So much more could’ve been done with this.

Anyway, but it is what it is, and as such, it’s quite good. Minus the ending, there’s solid build-up, the characters are flawed and one can easily relate to them. There’s plenty of background on both of them, and the writing meets the high standard I’ve grown to expect from books published by DarkFuse.

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