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Book Review: Violet

As an avid reader, I was blessed to discover two modern masters of horror in 2019. I'd never picked up a book by Paul Tremblay or Scott Thomas until last summer, and both writers blew my mind by how they circumvented the genre's tropes, and crafted new and unsettling works of morbid art.

On the surface, Scott Thomas takes the more conventional route. But he plays with the rules so well, and insists on doing his own thing. In Kill Creek, he played with the haunted house. In Violet... well, Violet is her own beast.

Violet is about a mother and daughter coming to terms with the death of an unfaithful husband and father. In order to do so, they return to the summer home the mother took comfort in as a child, and slowly discover something is waiting for them.

We've heard, read, and watched stories like this before, but few have pulled it off so effectively. The first half of Violet is an ultra slow burn. Almost frustratingly so. But the second half pays off every word from the first. Thomas set the pace and tone deliberately so that once his story really gets moving, you can't put it down.

He has a lot to say about grief and loss, and how that plays with our minds and our memories. He does so with frightening efficiency. And he can milk a scare from almost any scene and setting, and crafts an unsettling mood from the get go.

Horror is a genre always at risk of going stale. The stories have all been told, and many writers don't want to shy away from the formula that makes them money. Thankfully we've got Tremblay and Thomas to keep the scares alive. A Good!


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