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Let's Talk About Books

An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading. 


Beholder - Graham Masterton

I was asked to review this by OpenBooks.com. Or at least, it was politely suggested. 


This is a short story by Graham Masterton about one creepy little kid. Like, seriously creepy. My best friend's game over when it comes to horror is creepy kids (mine's aliens, in case anyone was curious) and I could just imagine her face when the kid got going. It's fairly short, only about 22 pages and took me maybe fifteen minutes to read. 


To start, I want to say this story is not my type of horror. I prefer supernatural and monsters. This one is purely gore related. So that made it hard to enjoy since that kind of horror has never really appealed to me. I don't mind it, it's just not my cup of tea. So other people might enjoy it more than I did for that reason. 


Here's what was good about the story: the twist. That part was very cool and I could feel my pulse go up a bit once it was revealed exactly what made this story horror. It wasn't something I saw coming and so there was a fun element of the shock. The story itself was also very original and I can appreciate it. 


Unfortunately, the story had some problems that made it so overall I didn't particularly care for it. One was the pacing. When the story got going it was great, I didn't want to stop reading. Unfortunately, it took about 4 pages to get to that point. When I was an editor for my school's lit mag, our policy was that if you weren't hooked by the first couple of pages, we stopped reading. I pushed through for the sake of a review but I never like having to push through a story. 


Part of the slowness was due to the narrative style. It's told completely from the perspective of the child and that just didn't work for me. It felt more silly and monotonous at a lot of points and blood had to be spilled for there to be any suspense. That was disappointing for me. The other issue I had with the narrative style is it felt like it was trying too hard to read as from a child's perspective. Like, how an adult thinks a child would think. So yeah, it just didn't work for me. 


Finally the ending. It just sort of ended. I didn't really feel anything due to how abrupt it was. In my opinion, it could have been fleshed out a little more. It had a kind of haunting last line, just not enough to really stick with me.


So overall, I wouldn't really recommend this one. I give it 2 out of 5 stars since the writing was decent and the scare was good. I just wouldn't read it again and that's why I wouldn't recommend it. Read at your own risk, I guess.