The Conversationalist (Horror Novella)

THE CONVERSATIONALIST: Horrorstruck, Novella One


On Patrick’s Pacific Northwest Island home, people whisper about his family’s sad history. Some feel sorry for him. Most want to help Patrick, as if he’s a song-less bird, make him their next project, and even set him up on a date with a best friend . . .

On one such date, Wendy sits across from Patrick and confesses she’s afraid to die, and says: “My mother died a year ago . . . horribly.” Patrick listens and pretends to care. He keeps his own dark secret safe that way.

There’s something wrong with the way Patrick treats the women he dates, his friends, his family . . . no one ever gets close to Patrick. He won’t allow that.

Included within: an original dark tale, THE NIGHT, and a bonus short story from the award-winning suspense collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories, ON THE BACK STAIRCASE.

–  S & S –

I really, really like the cover. It looks creepy and professionally done. I was also really psyched to read it with all of the rave reviews in the beginning.

I’m having a hard time with this, really. Other people might like it better than I did. It’s well-written and I did particularly like chapter five. It definitely shows an in-depth perception of people who are solitary creatures rather than social butterflies.

I just didn’t find the twist all that compelling or the ending all that believable. A lot of the book is the narrator’s inner life. It’s rather…middling. It’s not the writing at all. This may just be a matter of me not ‘clicking’ with the story. His constant inner monologue is a bit annoying. It reminded me a bit of Catcher in the Rye, which might work for some people but unfortunately I hated that book.

Part of the reason the ending didn’t work for me is a bit of a spoiler so highlight to see the following. If you don’t want to be spoiled just skip to the next part: The two friends start harassing the guy because he ditched their friend at the restaurant because he was bored and she was talking about death, specifically her mom getting hit by a train (I read into it that it was possibly suicide but that just might be my interpretation) and she was upset that he ditched her. Which is understandable. Except that it’s a third date and they barely know each other. After their various harassment attempts he calls the police. They talk to Wendy and she kills herself. And they blame him. Even though they’re her best friends, started the stuff that led to the police being called. It doesn’t even make sense. Maybe it would have been better in a  It didn’t ring true to me. Also, his memory of his sister is so fleeting it barely registers. He goes deeper into his feelings on martinis than that. The description implies that Patrick is a killer or psychopath or something which maybe he is but he never does anything that shows it except for not liking other people very much. End Spoiler

One of the stories is new to this book alone and the second is in his collection Sandcastle and Other Stories.

So, all in all, it wasn’t a bad read and the writing is actually good. I just think I didn’t click with it.

3 out of 5 Skulls


Title: The Conversationalist | Author: Justin Bog (site) | Pub. Date: 03/14/2017 | Pages: 167 | ASIN: B06XNNHV5Q | Genre: Horror/Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Suicide, Stalking, Child Death, Murder | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration | Purchase on Amazon

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