Slattery Falls is the debut novella from Dead Headspace co-host and reviewer, Brennan LaFaro.
Travis, Elsie, and Josh, college kids with a ghost-hunting habit, scour New England for the most interesting haunted locales. Their journey eventually leads them to Slattery Falls, a small Massachusetts town living in the shadow of the Weeks House. The former home of the town’s most sinister and feared resident sits empty. At least that’s what the citizens say. It’s all in good fun. But after navigating the strange home, they find the residents couldn’t be more wrong. And now the roles are reversed. The hunters have become the hunted. Something evil refuses to release its grip, forcing the trio into one last adventure
Usually, I’m not a fan of ghost stories and hauntings; I’ve just never felt an appeal toward that kind of horror. So, keep that in mind with this review.
Brennan’s writing style drew me in with ease and held my attention. I was engaged by the narration, enough so that I didn’t really care that the characters were ghost hunters. I also liked that there was a coming-of-age feel to the story, despite the characters being in their 20s-30s. A lot of the time, I felt like I was reading about a group of a high schoolers getting into trouble breaking into abandoned homes. That wasn’t actually the case, of course, but the vibe was there throughout.
For me, it was Part Two that hooked me for the remainder of the ride. Once we jumped ten years and the trio decides to go after the ghost that has taunted them, things became more engaging and interesting. I liked the backstory there, the history of the villain. I especially liked their confrontation with him and the conclusion, even if it was quick.
That’s where my minor complaint comes in. This really should have been a novel. Sections that begged for development blew by. Every time I felt something was weak, the fix was easy – a few more pages or perhaps a “side quest.” But they just weren’t there.
Brennan is a damn good storyteller, as evident in Slattery Falls. If he can take a ghost hunter story and get my attention, he must be doing something right. I look forward to more of his work. Brennan has a special talent that needs to be tapped further.