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Drop by H.D. Kirkland III #BookReview

Jacob Kahn lied to his father, the local sheriff when he said was attending a jazz festival in Pensacola, Florida with his best friend. Little did he know where their journey would lead them. DROP is a philosophical and psychological journey into the heart of delirium. It merges colloquial storytelling with the often frantic ramblings of a narrator who questions his every conscious projection. DROP is a novel rooted in horror in the vein of Poe and King while imbibing a comical madness as it explores the uncharted abyss of the subconscious mind. It will make you question everything you think you know about good and evil as your perception of reality dissolves into wisps of nothingness.

Drop by HD Kirkland III book cover

Title: Drop | Author:HD Kirkland III |  Publisher: Amazon Digital Services| Pub. Date: 4 May 2019 | Pages: 184 |ASIN: B07RWRSYH9 | Genre: Dark Fiction / Horror| Language: English | Source: Received a copy for review consideration I Not Starred Review

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Let’s start with genre. I’m not 100% convinced this is a horror book. I’d lean it more toward dark fiction for a couple of reasons. First, two-thirds of this book read more like a memoir of a drug addict. Yes, there is blood and death, but that doesn’t intrinsically make it horror. It felt like I was reading a journal, which wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t horror. The last act was where the horror elements came into play, and I do believe there was enough there to officially make the cross into the genre, but if you’re expecting a book that creates tension and terror from page one, this probably is going to leave you disappointed.

This book is meant to be eccentric. It promises a ride into the psychedelic and weird, but I don’t feel the majority of the book delivered. Again, I think it’s important to break the book into sections. The first two-thirds, which I’ll call section A, and then the ending. They give two different experiences. Section A promises tension. It hints that something awful is going to happen if only you turn the page, but that’s not the reality. I understand the intention of the book was to create a nontraditional approach to plot construction, but in order to break the rules, you have to first master them. And that’s where the problem began.

I wasn’t sure where the plot actually started. Typically, there’s an inciting incident that leaps the reader into the real action. Instead, section A of Drop offered a lot of repetition as the characters spent a good amount of time driving in their car and describing their drug induced existence. If I had to guess, I’d say the inciting incident happened maybe 30 pages into the story. If I guessed right, which I’m not sure I have, then I’d say that’s too long to make a reader wait for something to push the plot into action. If that isn’t the inciting incident, then I’d say section A of this book didn’t have one.

It did have a horror story in the middle. I’m not sure why it was put there, but in the middle of the book, we are treated to a story of a boy who was born in the 1840s. While interesting, it didn’t progress the story forward. Like much of section A, the scenes didn’t push the characters or plot toward a climax.

What it did have was really fluid and intense descriptions of life on drugs. Actually, the whole book had incredible imagery. I feel that each character was lovingly created, which showed in their descriptions. They each got a paragraph or more of introduction, which contained lovely and intense exposition. That, along with the ending, gave the book a boost.

Ah, the ending. Here is where the fun really begins. I’d say this ending could stand as a short story and really shine. It not only has elements of horror, complete with blood and fright, but it addresses some larger than life questions about life, death and drug use. I was pleasantly surprised by this section of the book and found myself eagerly turning the pages to get the end and see how everything played out.

Overall, there’s a ton of brilliant potential in this story. I have no doubt that the writing style is filled with creativity and a natural talent for weaving together exposition into something visceral. But plot development is vital to a successful novel, even if that plot is meant to be deconstructed. Even with a fluid, playful, nontraditional plot, there needs to be recognizable elements, and this story didn’t have enough of them.

So it wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be for you! Read it and let me know what you think!

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on GoodReads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

CONTENT WARNINGS: [Spoiler] mention of sexual assault, not graphic [/spoiler]

Published inHorror Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews
┬ęSci-Fi & Scary 2019
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