Will this coming of age story with a horrific twist satisfy or is it better swept away like bad childhood memories?
Set in a small rural town off in the wilderness, The Creek gives us a peek into the lives of two teens enjoying a perfect summer fling. But there’s a darkness present, a darkness that threatens to consume it all, and only time will tell if they can escape it’s nasty clutches.
King leads us on a tale that explores all the feelings we can remember from those teen years, the summer flings, the crushes, and a desire to just be wanted… to fit in. Then he twists those feelings into a horrific ending that you’ll see coming but will be unable to look away from none the less.
Author : Rayne King
Published : January 1st, 2021 – Independently Published
92 pages – Paperback
Horror / Novella
I was gifted this book by the wonderful Well Read Beard on Twitter, he loved the book and wanted to help spread the word. In full disclosure, I’m also Twitter friends with the author, Rayne King, but rest assured this will be an honest review untainted by friendships. But at the very least, I highly recommend you go give them a follow online as they are both fantastic guys that I tremendously enjoy chatting with.
Ok – to the book.
There are just a few main characters to talk about and while this is a fast read, King does a beautiful job of allowing us to know Wiley and Ruby. They are, of course, our two love-struck teens on the search for finding purpose in a life full of less than ideal circumstances.
Wiley reminds me of a few friends I had in high school. The type whose parents were cool with them partying here and there, as long as they were being safe about it. The type who knew what they wanted in that moment and weren’t going to let “the bigger picture of life” stop them from enjoying the moment. In many ways, the type of kid I always thought were so cool.
Ruby is a girl with hopes for the future, but knows that her future is sealed. Try as she might, she feels trapped and that leaves her with a darkness and sadness that is always just under the surface. With Wiley, she’s happy.
I’m not going to talk about the actual plot too much, since this is a real quick read.
But know that this is a cult style horror story, which is both infuriating and heartbreaking. You’ll have an idea what’s going to happen fairly early on, but it doesn’t take away from the story at all. And by the time you get to the end, there you’ll get hit with the heartbreaking and horrifying conclusion… and you’ll love every word of it.
The Creek, via Rayne King’s writing style, is very punchy. Very to the point. And very impactful.
There were a few small quotes I wanted to share that illustrate Kings writing style nicely. These do not spoil anything with the story at all so let’s look at the first.
Mother Nature was coming to reclaim what was rightfully Hers. The fire that is civilization is temporary, but the darkness in the surrounding woods is forever.Rayne King – The Creek
Impactful, menacing, and right to the point.
Time doesn’t heal all wounds. It merely turns them into faded scars.Rayne King – The Creek
I really enjoyed how raw and powerful his writing is. But the best part about it all is that while The Creek is the main feature here, this book ALSO includes a second short story called Husk.
In Husk we are given a look at how versatile King is as he shifts gears fully and moves from the coming of age, cult horror of The Creek and jumps into a world of adventure horror, complete with a buried treasure that was probably better left uncovered.
The writing in Husk is every bit as punchy as in The Creek, but it somehow feels different. The tone changes a bit to fit the change in the style of horror this story presents.
Without saying too much and risking spoilers, Husk follows two young adults as they embark on a quest into the wilderness to follow a treasure map and see just what is buried at the end of it. Of course, there are sinister forces at play and as the description on Goodreads says, “some things are better left buried.”.
Both of these stories are highly enjoyable, fast paced reads that maintain a balance of feeling quick without ever feeling rushed.
If I had one issue with The Creek, it’s that because it’s cult horror we can figure out fairly early on the direction the story is going to take. It didn’t ruin the story at all, but it did keep it from being one of those “OMG! I can’t believe that happened!” kind of reads.
I highly recommend this book for any fans of modern cult horror and “people as the monster” style horror. Though Husk does get a bit more supernatural so you get a little variety.
As such, The Creek by Rayne King gets 4 out of 5 stars.
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