This was my #LadiesFirst21 choice for Ladies of Horror Fiction’s first reading challenge of the year, and whoa! What a great way to start off my reading in 2021!
I love subtle, quiet horror – it can be difficult for a story to nail, often edging into “too subtle” territory where not enough happens, and we’re left wanting more. The slow build up of dread and the creeping sense of wrongness aren’t the easiest things to convey on the page, and it takes a writer with skill to bring those feelings of unease to the the forefront of a reader’s mind. With Come Closer, Gran absolutely hits the mark – spooky and unsettling, the anxiety builds up continuously, and I found myself flipping through the pages with urgency to find out what would happen.
Amanda, our main character fighting for control of herself in the middle of a demon possession, is a flawed character, but also relatable. She’s every person who has occasionally had an intrusive, bad thought that has made them stop for a moment and question, where did that come from? For most people, it’s just a momentary blip that we know we’d never act on – but for Amanda, it becomes something more, and she begins to suspect that something may not be totally right with herself. I loved this slow build up to catastrophe, and was eager to know what we’d get into with Amanda next.
The ending of this book is open to interpretation, and I won’t spoil it here, but I will say I liked that it didn’t have a cleanly tied bow wrapping everything up together. The insidiousness of how alienating and debilitating it can be to not trust our own minds is a theme shown throughout the story in different ways – I loved this one, folks!
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