By Brannan LaFaro
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Travis Morland recounts his college years, making friends with a reclusive obsessive in the name of Joshua Costa. The unlikely friendship becomes a partnership as the two scour New England for haunted properties they can ‘visit’ – and by that, I mean break into without permission. No need for any recorders or EVP machines, the boys use their natural senses to detect whether they can see, hear, smell or feel an otherworldly presence in the paranormal premises.
It’s not long before their extra-curricular activities get the attention of Josh’s cousin Elsie who threatens to blow the lid unless she’s invited on the next haunted visit. Thus, the double act becomes a trio.
Though Travis sees enough in Hale House, his first haunted outing with Josh, nothing can prepare the trio for the experience yet to come. When the three friends find themselves unable to shake off strange happenings at the Benson House, they’re drawn to a property located in Slattery Falls.Will the Weeks House provide them with the answers they’re looking for or have they bitten off more than they can chew?
Brennan LaFaro thrills with his tales of supernatural adventures in novella SLATTERY FALLS. Told from the point of view of Travis, we discover this blossoming friendship between two guys and get to know their personalities as they lock pick and break into properties to see if the local rumours of hauntings are true. It’s a fascinating read, perhaps because I too secretly dream of exploring a haunted location though I’d likely be outta there like the speed of light if I did come into contact with anything. We see how the dynamic between the two guys is enhanced with the introduction of Elsie who seems to help further bind the group together as they research and prepare for the properties they’re about to explore.
133-page novella SLATTERY FALLS is such an enjoyable read from start to finish and a lot of it is not just down to the intriguing story but also in the way that it’s been written. LaFaro‘s style of writing is engaging and effortless to read, as though a friend is recounting a tale to you. In many ways, I felt like an unofficial fourth member of their ghosthunting clan, bearing witness to the sights and sounds that befall the trio on their adventures. There’s moments where I felt on edge as the deathly quiet emanates from the pages whilst shadows creep across the room. I was bracing myself for what horrors may lie in the dark as I turned to the next page, envisioning the scenes as if I was watching a movie.
LaFaro skilfully manages to build up the tension in his novella and creates a payoff that satisfies and has the reader eagerly awaiting the next paragraph. It never relies on cheap scares, instead opting to craft a story that has a history and depth that the reader is keen to explore alongside the characters.
SLATTERY FALLS is an outstanding debut from author Brennan LaFaro and shows he has the ability to capture the reader’s imagination and take them on a journey. The unease he creates will get under your skin, grabbing your throat in a vice-like grip as the panic descends leaving you gasping for air. The only disappointing aspect is I wish the book was longer as I was enjoying it too much to end! However, the plot is neatly sewn up and is paced well to ensure every element of the story is given room to breathe without feeling rushed. With such a strong debut, I’m looking forward to reading what other stories LaFaro has up his sleeve.
SLATTERY FALLS is a chilling slice of horror fiction that fans of ghost stories won’t want to miss.