Verdict: THE GORDON PLACE is a well-told tale of ghostly vengeance. It’s got a menacing B-movie vibe, yet addresses deeper issues of child abuse and racism and author Isaac Thorne shows that true horror doesn’t come from beyond the grave, but the dark recesses of the human heart.
Everybody in Lost Hollow knew Lee Gordon was a nasty drunk who beat his son. They probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn Lee killed several people and hid their bodies in his crawl space. But Lost Hollowers may be shocked to discover that not even death can quell Lee Gordon’s malevolent spirit.
Lee has taken over the body of his milquetoast son, Graham—Hollow County’s new constable—and is back living in his abandoned family home. THE GORDON PLACE is the creepiest house in Lost Hollow, a Deep South hole-in-the-woods with a mysterious and murderous history. Journalists Afia and Staff visit Lost Hollow to produce a Halloween fluff piece for the local news station, but end up battling personal demons and small town secrets. Afia grew up in Lost Hollow, but was raised in foster care after her mother disappeared and her father was murdered. Non-spoiler: Lee Gordon did it, and got away with it. But there are restless spirits in Lost Hollow—both human and otherworldly—eager to exact revenge.
Author Isaac Thorne deals with themes of entrapment—characters are imprisoned by both their physical bodies and their family histories. Thorne literally puts his characters in each other’s shoes (or Wolverine boots), allowing them to see the world from different perspectives. In the case of Lee Gordon, it’s a very sick and twisted view.
THE GORDON PLACE will please fans of Edward Lee’s “redneck horror,” though Thorne doesn’t follow Lee’s bloody footprints into splatter-punk territory. Instead, Thorne paces THE GORDON PLACE like a classic suspense thriller. Replace the rape and racism with pecan pie recipes, and THE GORDON PLACE would make a fine cozy mystery novel!
There are plenty of new and old spins on horror genre staples. There’s a haunted house, literary jump scares, and a hellhound that blends the best parts of Mars Attacks, Cujo, and Scooby Doo. Readers may struggle with the use of knock-knock jokes as a plot device, and/or Thorne’s soapbox rants. His thoughts on politics, “toxic masculinity,” and the cycles of abuse may be spot-on, but they’re heavy-handed at times.
THE GORDON PLACE is a well-told tale of ghostly vengeance. It’s got a menacing B-movie vibe, yet addresses deeper issues of child abuse and racism and and author Isaac Thorne shows that true horror doesn’t come from beyond the grave, but the dark recesses of the human heart.
~Rob Errera for IndieReader