Get some read on you this spooky season and check out the wonderfully eerie and engaging holiday horror tale “The Horror at Pleasant Brook”.
Welcome to Pleasant Brook, a small upstate New York town nestled in the Adirondacks.
On Friday night, you can stop at the local diner, the Whole in the Wall, for pizza and wash it down with a beer at The Tipper Inn. You can find many locals there drinking their cares away, trying to bury the skeletons in their closets.
You can stop by The Cougar Den if you enjoy more risque entertainment. Or, if you’re looking for family-friendly fun this Halloween season, you can get a good scare at Goodlow’s Farm Corn Maze. However, the corn maze is far from the most frightening thing in Pleasant Brook this Halloween season.
An ancient evil lurks in the shadows, something from the depths of unknown realms, seemingly unstoppable as it seeks to devour all of Pleasant Brook.
Writer Kevin Lucia brings horror fans something new to haunt their nightmares this Halloween season. As with many of Lucia’s stories, he dives deep beneath the surface and crafts a nuanced tale populated by multilayered characters the reader cannot help but root for.
He has a sizable cast of characters whom he introduces chapter by chapter and engages the reader in the troubled lives of the residents of Pleasant Brook.
The cast of characters is diverse and three-dimensional, and many struggle with various relatable issues, from failed relationships to substance abuse and bigotry.
Lucia brings his characters to life.
There are no two-dimensional tropes in this novel, which makes the book more entertaining and engaging. Lucia’s characters challenge and defy stereotypes. I was rooting for these characters, which adds another dimension to the horror.
Lucia’s story isn’t formulaic but realistic in that …bad things happen to good people.
The book also includes many characters under the LGBTQ+ spectrum, a lesbian police officer and her nonbinary ex-partner, who bravely face the antagonists with a gay teenage boy whose obsession with horror provides useful insight into fighting the antagonists.
Lucia writes these characters realistically and portrays them as three-dimensional human beings just trying to live their lives, which are turned upside down, first by COVID-19 and then by an unknown, vicious, and relentless antagonist.
There’s no shortage of gore in the book.
Lucia vividly describes oozing flesh, decay, and even the sounds of crunching flesh and bones made when someone is being eaten. He creates a creepy atmosphere, effectively describing a ghost town with deserted and empty streets.
Most importantly, Lucia’s love of the horror genre comes through with many references to classic horror films and books.
The story has tones of H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King with characters and a setting that played out like a classic John Carpenter film.
The Horror of Pleasant Brook also presents a new kind of antagonist with origins steeped in ancient Celtic mythology and ties directly into Samhain, which makes the story a perfect read for the Halloween season. He’s not writing about a familiar mythological creature, which creates suspense.
The story also takes place during COVID, so residents not being out and about doesn’t seem strange at first — until Lucia’s band of heroes figures out all is not well in Pleasant Brook.
Lucia has constructed the perfect holiday horror tale, an entertaining, thrilling, and suspenseful story for a chilly October evening.