Title: Cats Like Cream | Author: Renee Miller | Publisher: Unnerving | Pub. Date: 2018-04-10 | Pages: 52 | ASIN: B079SQY7HH | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Rape, Necrophilia | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from publisher for review consideration
Cats Like Cream
It’s okay to watch. Watching hurts no one, as long as you don’t touch.
Elwin likes to watch. His position as star employee at a real estate agency gives him plenty of access to the homes of his clients. A camera or two hidden where no one will find it, and he can watch as often as he pleases.
No one knows. No one gets hurt.
But it’s hard to look without touching. Touching leads to bad things. Elwin knows this, but allows himself a moment of weakness.
And then another.
Soon, watching isn’t an option anymore. Not if Elwin wants his secrets to remain buried.
Cats Like Cream Review
Wow. ‘Cats Like Cream’ hit me like a punch in the face and has left me reeling; it’s immediately compelling and I couldn’t put it down, even when I wanted to. At 51 pages it’s short even for a novella, but it packs a lot in, both in events and in the lingering chill that it leaves.
The protagonist is a sweaty, hair obsessed psychopathic real estate agent named Elwin. A man who hides secret cameras in the homes he sells so that he can watch the female occupants, while he tries to control his violent urges with a rhyme his mother taught him (“Cats like cream, little boys dream”). Naturally, he doesn’t succeed for long, and the story quickly descends into a nightmarish chain of murder, necrophilia and hair fetishism. More so even than the scenes of physical and sexual violence, what he does with the hair is still making me feel a little nauseous.
As an examination of obsessive, violent insanity it reminded me of John McNaughton’s film ‘Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer’. It’s similarly bleak, unflinching and disturbing, like a slow motion car crash you can’t look away from. Horror like this can sometimes end up feeling cheap and exploitative, but this book never does. Instead it paints a disturbingly believable picture of insanity and obsession, with the escalating violence making a weird sense once you get inside Elwin’s twisted brain.
The writing is lean and taut throughout, the prose sparse and punchy and very readable. Renee Miller manages to construct a convincing community around Elwin, filled with living (and, given the nature of the book, dying) characters. What makes it all even creepier is that this environment and the people who populate it are familiar, and the ease with which Elwin inserts himself into their lives through his job in real estate is frighteningly credible.
The only thing that let the story down a little for me was the end, which has a nice twist to it, but felt a bit abrupt. That slight criticism aside I thought this was a great piece of short horror fiction and I’ll definitely be reading more of Miller’s work.
This book is available at: Better World Books | Kobo | Amazon | B&N
Olly joined the team in August 2018. He is our first non-American team member, and lives in the UK. He is the head of our UK team. Olly reviews both science fiction and horror books and movies for the site. He also enjoys writing articles when time allows.