The Narrows by Travis M. Riddle

Series: stand alone Genre: horror
Date of Publishing: June 10th 2019 Publisher: Self-Published

Quote of the Book

This all started where Noah died.

It couldn’t be a coincidence. What were the chances he showed up to the spot where his best friend was found dead and all of this supernatural shit started to happen? There had to be a connection, but he was damned if he knew what it was.

As his dread and frustration grew, he couldn’t stop himself from thinking to Noah, Fuck you. It was petty, and childish, and yet—

And yet, it was how he felt.

Petty. Angry.

Blurb

“I can show you how to enter the Narrows to find what you seek.”

Oliver and his friends have returned to their hometown of Shumard, Texas for the funeral of their close friend Noah. They each grapple with the loss in their own ways, trying to understand the strange circumstances of their friend’s unexpected death.

While visiting the site where the body was found, Oliver stumbles across a chilling discovery that he knows must be related to what happened to Noah. Wanting to protect his friends from these newfound horrors, Oliver takes it upon himself to venture into the grotesque otherworld known as the Narrows to learn what happened to his friend and find a way to bring him back.

Entering the Narrows is one thing, but will whatever he finds there allow him to leave?

Disclaimer/Personal Note

Thank you to the author Travis M. Riddle for generously supplying an audio version!

Bingo read.

Song of the Book

This is my very favourite song from Mumford and Sons and was my introduction to them as a group. This is a quiet and thoughtful song that I thought suited the themes in The Narrows, of loss and moving on after death.

Because death is just so full and man so small.
Well I’m scared of what’s behind and what’s before.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears

 

Jen’s Review

The death of a friend reunites Oliver and the rest of their circle as they gather to say goodbye and try to come to terms with their loss.

***

Don’t pick this book up expecting a full-on horror story. Don’t get me wrong, there is some nice thick atmosphere that helps set the tone for all the creepy moments and the build to the end, once we meet the Knave, is nicely amped-up (and I thought done very well) but I found this leaves you, not so much horrified but instead with that unsettled feeling that sticks around for days. Of course, my tolerance for horror is pretty high – the other world and some of the more vividly depicted scenes might scare the crap out of a normal person.

For me, if I hadn’t been familiar with one of Travis Riddle’s other stories Balam, Spring, I may not have enjoyed this quite as much as I did if I wanted just a horror story. Knowing that he’s damn good at characters and relationships, and building lives that you feel like you are involved in was something I expected and on that level this worked especially well.

The story while stepping into the horror side of fantasy has a bit of that slice of life feel that I liked so much in Balam, Spring. The little things that make these people special and feel so realistic are present – from the nostalgia of revisiting the old haunts, to sitting around at the local waffle house reminiscing, or talking about school friends and what they’re doing now, etc. We feel like we are a part of the group – a fly on the wall of their lives as they catch up and try to make sense of their feelings about the death of their friend Noah.

This isn’t the coming age story that you see so often in fantasy; this is what comes after that. It’s all the stuff that hits you when you realize you’ve grown-up and moved on from some of the people who used to know you the best, and they from you. It’s also a story about coming to terms with the regrets of those lost friendships and the grief and that anger that comes from death and loss. Basically, it’s about moving on and what gets left behind in the process.

Like with Balam, Spring, I was left with this sense of sadness in the final pages. But it was a good sadness. The kind that comes from closure and knowing the characters will heal and move on and find happiness. That’s when I know that the characters are done right, if on the closing of the final page I feel they will be ok.

I listened to the audio version of  The Narrows. I enjoyed the narrator, he was animated when need to be and I liked the little things he added here and there. I generally have no complaints about the narration.

I do tend to notice the repetitive things more in audio, words especially, but I’m hypersensitive to that in any format so it’s kind of a moot point.

Our Judgement

3,5 crowns

Available: Amazon Author website: Travis  Riddle

3 thoughts on “The Narrows by Travis M. Riddle

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