I was a bit behind on Andrew Cull, having just read his acclaimed collection, Bones, last month. That being said, it’s better being late to the party than never! His latest novella (or short novel, depending on who you ask), Remains, is quite a disturbing thrill ride. It’s quick, to the point, and frantically exciting. Similar to The Cabin at the End of the World (Paul Tremblay) – in the sense that it is fast-paced and crazily chaotic at times – Remains wastes no time in grabbing you by the wrist and pulling you along like a child at play (only this is not a game you want to share in the “fun”).
As the story moves along, it becomes spookier, bloodier, and more unsettling, the tension ever rising until its closing page. For example, the vehicular death sequence (which made me think of the Final Destination movies) was just brilliant; probably one of the best kills I’ve read this year. The chase that seems to overwhelm the final chapters of the book was truly gripping; I read through them briskly and breathlessly.
If I were to nitpick, there was a large chunk of pages in which Lucy (the distraught mother) repeats the same 2-3 simple lines numerous times, to the point that they became quite tiresome. There were also multiple chapter changes that felt unnecessary and awkward.
These minor complaints aside, Remains certainly establishes Cull as the next horror writer to watch. His ability to write like a movie keeps things lively and engaging throughout, putting you right there on the “set” to witness everything at a distance too close for comfort. Seriously, I imagined a lot of this book in scary detail; it would make a horrific movie topped in adrenaline. Highly recommended.
*This review first appeared on www.kendallreviews.com