I don’t usually go in for the whole friend of a friend thing when it comes to book recommendations, but in this case the mutual friend–Glenn Rolfe–is a reliable source for good fiction so when he suggested I might be interested in Patrick Lacey’s debut novella, A DEBT TO BE PAID, I gladly accepted. Now I’m going to suggest the same thing to you and you should also gladly accept.
A DEBT TO BE PAID is a quick but ultimately satisfying little read. It starts out–as all really good tales do–with fast paced action, dumping you head first into a mystery as a woman and a little girl race across the country, trying to escape… something. The darkness in this story is unrelenting. The shadow figures that stalk Meg and, by association, Brian are enigmatic and terrifying because of it.
The pacing and the characters are what really make this story shine. Lacey manages to keep things moving fast at the same time as he’s building characters complex and three dimensional enough to care about. Meg and Brian and yes, Dwight are easy to empathize with and the speed of the story keeps you involved and concerned for them all the way. Make sure you have some time on your hands when you read it. It gets it’s claws into you and doesn’t want to let you go. And you won’t want it to.
Since reading A DEBT TO BE PAID, I recently read Patrick’s story, “Late Fee”, in DARK MOON DIGEST #22 and I can attest to his consistency. That’s a badass story and A DEBT TO BE PAID is a badass book. If you haven’t read Patrick Lacey’s work follow those links below and fix that.
A DEBT TO BE PAID synopsis:
Nowhere to run!
Gillian Foster is desperate. She received a very strange letter in the mail not long ago. Since then, she’s been seeing shadowy figures everywhere. Coming for her. Frantic to find a safe place, she leaves home with her daughter Meg, only to find there is no way to outrun her pursuers.
Twenty years later, Gillian has been admitted to Hawthorne Psychiatric Facility. Meg receives a similar letter and is hunted by an unseen force. Is Meg also mentally ill, or are these creatures real? And if so, was her mother right all those years ago? Is there no place to hide?
About the author: Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He currently spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, his Pomeranian, his cat, and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), find him on Facebook, or visit his website at https://patrickclacey.wordpress.com/.