Book Review: Woman in White by Kristin Dearborn

AZCoverPrint Length: 139 pages
Publisher: DarkFuse; 1 edition
Publication Date: February 28, 2016

Rocky Rhodes, Maine.

As a fierce snowstorm descends upon the sleepy little town, a Good Samaritan stops to help a catatonic woman sitting in the middle of the icy road, and is never seen or heard from again. When the police find his car, it is splattered in more blood than the human body can hold.

While the storm rages on, the wave of disappearances continue, the victims sharing only one commonality: they are all male. Now it’s up to three young women to figure out who or what is responsible: a forensic chemist, a waitress struggling with an abusive boyfriend, and a gamer coping with the loss of her lover.

Their search will lead them on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors that are all connected to a mysterious Woman in White.

Kristin Dearborn’s newest novella, WOMAN IN WHITE, is an imaginative, unique retelling of an old urban legend about a ghost that wanders along the road until unwary drivers come along and offer assistance. Depending on the version of the story, the ghost either disappears at some point, or kills the driver. Dearborn has chosen to take the violent approach, creating a terrifying, fast moving story with a high body count and a considerable amount of blood.

WOMAN IN WHITE begins much like the original legend with this opening paragraph:

“She came out of nowhere. One minute the road was all snow, the next a woman stood in the middle of Dennis’s lane. He eased down on the brake—didn’t slam it—but a layer of snow covered the back road. The old Camry went into a spin and time dragged, almost to a halt. The headlights splashed light on his surroundings as he rotated.”

Dennis picks up the nonspeaking damsel in distress and heads back to town. This is the last we see of our hapless samaritan. It’s also the last we see of any similarity between the urban legend and Kristin Dearborn’s WOMAN IN WHITE. There is nothing so innocuous as ghosts here, nor do we get to find out what happens to the creature’s multitudinous victims–all male–until late in the story, although we can be relatively certain they didn’t survive it and that it wasn’t pretty. In the locations where they disappeared, they leave behind more blood than a single human body can contain.

That should give you a pretty clear idea of the gruesome quality of this urban legend turned hardcore horror story. Dearborn isn’t afraid to get her hands bloody and, as WOMAN IN WHITE progresses, she manages to maintain a high level of despair and suspense, keeping the tension high and the action taut, holding the reader’s attention with likable, realistic characters, believable dialogue, and vivid scenery, the frigid landscape pairing perfectly with the chilling mood of the story.

“Mom ushered them out into the snowy evening. The sun was gone, but the moon had taken its place, and shone almost as bright. It reflected off the snow and cast long, sharp shadows. Its light dimmed the stars. Somewhere a dog barked, probably at the Masons’ farm. The bark sounded frustrated, insistent.”

In the above paragraph, the setting is picturesque and lifelike, yet below the surface it’s permeated with a sense of dread that carries throughout the book. Dearborn’s descriptive prowess holds the story together, and her original, terrifying take on the legend, the stomach churning, phobia evoking monster she’s created, defy description by any but the most twisted of imaginations. And it’s that particular curve that makes the story really work. Kristin Dearborn has conjured a nightmare creature unlike any you will have encountered before, scary as hell and not soon forgettable.

While Dearborn tends to telegraph her intentions as to who she’s going to gruesomely murder throughout the story, WOMAN IN WHITE is a hugely entertaining story by a young author who gets better with every outing and isn’t afraid to take risks to create a captivating, exceptional story with a distinctive and surprising twist. WOMAN IN WHITE is horror with claws and teeth and not recommended for the faint of heart but a must read for any fan of solid, engaging, and memorable dark fiction. Kristen Dearborn is an outstanding, natural born storyteller and one worth keeping an eye on. Follow the link below to get a copy of WOMAN IN WHITE and check out Kristin’s Amazon author page to learn about the rest of her outstanding  works of horror.

Order WOMAN IN WHITE here

IMG_1693About Kristin Dearborn: If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She’s written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!), she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Find more on Kristin at http://kristindearborn.com/.

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