While new to Krisch, I got a taste of Steensland through the 2019 favorite, In the Scrape (which was a fantastic coming-of-age drama). In some ways, Coffin Shadows reminds me of that story. It’s not scary, but instead relies on the dramatic over scenes of terror.
Janet has a past she has tried to forget for years (and, in some cases, has actually forgotten). Her fiance, Brain, is excited that they’re moving in together and are pregnant. Janet, however, seems haunted. In a way, she actually is – a 12 year old boy keeps appearing, even though no one else can see him. And there’s something very familiar about this child . . .
Because of this haunting and her mounting emotional distress, Janet is soon sent to her hometown to discover the truth about the son she lost twelve years ago under mysterious circumstances. Her doctor hopes this will help her settle some internal struggles, thus returning to Janet her grip on reality. Unfortunately, Janet discovers a dark web of lies of what really happened to her baby and why.
It seems like the set up of Coffin Shadows would allow for some frights along the way, but this story is more about mystery and the suspense in seeking out answers. And there’s nothing wrong with that – but it would have been nice to have a little more excitement along the way. The ending also feels a little abrupt, despite a solid finale. At times, it seemed like the authors were keeping things light on detail and narrative to keep this at a novella’s length; I think Coffin Shadows could have been a stronger story with an additional fifty pages or so to give it more depth.
That being said, Coffin Shadows has a good horror backdrop and a strong sense of emotional turmoil. I’m a drama guy – fix that into horror the right way and watch out! – so Coffin Shadows really appealed to me. I was interested and invested throughout, so mark this as a win and recommendation as far as I’m concerned.
Review by Aiden Merchant
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