Book Review: The Narrows by Ronald Malfi

The NarrowsThe Narrows by Ronald Malfi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ronald draws the reader in with strong description and interesting characters. I am a big fan of Horror, but not so when it relies on cheap tricks and bland characters. Ronald has a poet’s mastery of language and the ability to evoke the right feeling. His pinpoint details make reading this book more like watching a movie, and it’s instantly and thoroughly chilling. He makes all of his characters interesting and rich. The combination compels you to read on. I really enjoyed it.

I picked this book up on strong recommendations to read Ronald, and was very impressed by what I found. His book tickled my nostalgia of reading Summer of Night by Dan Simmons, in that it has the small town feeling and young characters fighting a strange monster that has come to town. I can’t express the “feeling” part enough. Both Ronald and Dan have that rare gift of character and description that makes the story live inside your mind, creating ideal escapism.

What follows is a chilling experience in a dying town where nightmares, mutilated livestock, and missing children cause police and adults to scramble for answers before they lose their lives. When they’re scared, you know you have problems. I enjoyed the use of the Mexican legend to make the monster seem more plausible, and the flushing out of its powers and purposes created memorable scenes of horror. Made better was the fact that I cared for what happened, and I enjoyed the twist at the end, along with the philosophical introspection about the nature of dying towns and how it affects the people that live within.

My only complaint would be that I felt some of the potential of the monster and the situation it created were not as actualized as I imagined they would. There is a high body count for the small town, but I guess I wanted the battle to be more drawn out. I can’t really say more without spoiling the ending, and by no means should this slight complaint detract from my recommendation to read this book. It’s a great story that I really enjoyed reading. I’m very glad someone told me to check out Ronald Malfi’s writing, and I plan to read everything he puts out.

Rating: 4.4

Other Horror Books I’ve Reviewed:

The Wicked by James Newman
I, Zombie by Hugh Howey
Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo
Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry
Wanted: Dead or Undead by Angela Scott
Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne
Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
Beyond Exile: Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne
Winter by Keven Newsome
The Resurrection by Mike Duran
Rise Again by Ben Tripp
Dead City by Joe McKinney

Short Fiction:
“Dark Metaphor” by Colin F. Barnes
“Herman Wouk is Still Alive” by Stephen King
“One Last Sunset” and “Cold Season” by Michael Montoure (both from his collection, Slices)
“Plastic” by J.L. Bryan
“Pearls” by Ed Kurtz
One Buck Horror Volume 4
One Buck Zombie
Best New Zombie Tales: Volume 1

View all my reviews

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One Response to Book Review: The Narrows by Ronald Malfi

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