• Cassandra L. Thompson

Ghost River Review

Review of Ghost River by Chad Ryan.

Do you like pie? I do - it's one of my favorite desserts. Apple with nuts and caramel drizzle on the top. I can only eat a slice though, because while it's delicious, it will inevitably give me a stomach ache and I'll spend the next day hating myself for indulging. What does this have to do with a book review? Ghost River is like pie - a gnarly, horrific, barbed wire, tentacle lashing... pie. I love the writing, love the imaginative worldbuilding, love the gruesome imagery, but I'll be damned if I can get past a slice or two before I have to shove that damn gorgeous and misleading aquamarine tome under my bed until next week.

Am I being dramatic? Probably, but read it and see for yourself. One of my favorite parts of being an author with author friends is that I can yell at them; without giving too much away, there is a particularly jolting scene so vivid I FELT IT and proceeded to hammer Chad on how on earth he was able to do that. I'm a horror writer - I don't jolt easily. That alone is impressive. Furthermore, the world that Mr. Ryan creates is fantastic, a freakish, tortured desert nightmare with characters that seemed to have been birthed out the essence of depravity. Oh, and of course he describes them quite vividly. *shudders*

Listen, this is a book that pushes boundaries and makes you feel extremely uncomfortable. But it transcends basic shock horror with the intention behind the story, its sharp prose, and its willingness to indulge in subjects shocking and taboo. Ghost River is a story that wiggles into your mind and forces you to look at the things most of us shy away from. For that, I recommend it. This is one ambitious debut, and Chad Ryan nailed it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need a cold shower to wash the revulsion off my skin.

Check out more from Chad Ryan and Lost Boys Press at www.lostboyspress.com

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