Book Review: A Shrill Keening

23199486Title: A Shrill Keening
Author: Ronald Malfi

Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

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

Carl Thompson spends his days confined to a psychiatric ward for a gruesome murder he can’t remember committing. But his nights are spent elsewhere, patrolling an evacuated stretch of beach for some purpose that is not readily apparent.

During the day, he struggles to decipher which part of his existence is real and which is not. At night, he tries to uncover the mystery to a numbered code, a silver key, and a band of people who have given him his cryptic instructions.
Are these two realities linked? Could the answers to the mysteries in one reality be found within the other? Carl must find out before time runs out, and the sound of a shrill keening threatens to destroy both realities.

In A Shrill Keening, author Ronald Malfi does it again. Using excellent prose, he crafts an interesting Lovecraftian story. Protagonist Carl Thompson spends his days in a psychiatric ward – apparently he killed someone. Except, he doesn’t remember it at all. In the psych ward, he’s been having dreams, strange dreams about standing Watch on a beach, gazing at the sea and waiting for something, only he has no idea what.

The more time he spends trying to uncover the truth of these strange dreams, the farther he drifts from reality. Soon enough, he can’t keep the realities apart anymore, and while something is approaching him in the dream world, he finds it might be linked to something happening in the real world…

As usual, Malfi crafts interesting characters. Carl Thompson is a dynamic character, enigmatic yet strange, and one instantly wants to find out more about him. The lead character carries most of the book, turning a story that, at its core is perhaps not the author’s most original work, into an enjoyable read with a few unpredictable twists.

This story packed a lot, and since it’s only a short novella, somethings happened a little too fast for my liking, especially the end scene. As I’ve come to expect, the author delivers beautiful prose znf a haunting narrative.


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