by Andrew Cull
Remains is a slow-burn. It’s a psychological, well-crafted story. It’s ambiguous. It’s unnerving. Unsettling. Terrifying. But above all, it’s a story so damn good, it almost hurts.
I know some people consider slow burns a negative thing. I mean quite the opposite. Cull has an incredible gift for weaving in so much detail, yet leaving enough room for the reader to imagine some pretty wonderfully bleak things. Lucy, the protagonist, is someone we learn about in so many pieces. In so many situations. The story starts out on shaky grounds. The structure that builds up from it is made of flimsy material that you always wonder when it will fall in on itself. At some point, you’d think the horror and dread would end, but it never does. Not even when you finish the last page.
It has been months since I finished the book. I see it all so clearly to this day.
Ghost stories have a wide range of diversity. Some are spook scares, some are psychological thrillers, some are hybrids, and others are full of crime or mystery. This one has a little bit of crime, some mystery, some psychological terror. As soon as I opened up to page one, the whispering captured me. It initially lured me by its interesting cover. A cover that shows everything you need to know, but won’t entirely understand until you’re too sucked into the story to run the other way.
Cull is a poet. I dare any of you to argue a counterpoint. I’m not sure how long it took him to write this, but it’s also clear he had a damn good editor. I found myself doing something I don’t tend to do much. Re-reading sentences, phrases, and sections of pages. Not because I didn’t understand something or I had to double-check a reference or find myself in the correct place because I wasn’t following along. It was purely due to the beauty of word sequences.
Even if you do not tend to read ghost stories, I promise you, this one is worth your time. Cull knows what he’s doing. He has stolen a piece of my heart and replaced his name with it, only making me eagerly await the next book he comes out with. There are so many times when Cull took my brain and broke it. He took my heart, my sympathy, my empathy…and then broke it all.
And for those who have been paying attention…what do we have after we’ve broken something?
Review by Patrick R. McDonough
I received a paperback from the author for review consideration.