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The Cockroach King by Andrew Cull #BookReview

“We’d been in the house two weeks when Tommy pulled the first bones from the garden.”

When Cassie Baker buys the house on Cedar Street, it’s partly because it reminds her of the house she grew up in in the ‘80s. It reminds her of happier times, when her Mom was still alive, before the cancer had taken her. It seems like the perfect place to raise her baby boy, Sam.

That is, until a friend unearths the remains of a dog, buried in a shallow grave in the backyard.

After the bones come the cockroaches…

Title: The Cockroach King | Author: Andrew Cull | Publisher: Beneath Hell Publishing | Pub. Date: 30 November 2020 | Pages: 65 | ASIN: B08NZ5LR12 | Genre: Horror| Language: English | Source: Self-purchased | Starred Review |

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The Cockroach King Review

I am genuinely convinced that Andrew Cull simply cannot write a bad story. Everything I’ve read by Cull so far has been absolutely fantastic, and The Cockroach King is no exception.

In this short novella, we follow Cassie as she and her young son move into what she believes will be their dream home. But this dream quickly turns into a nightmare as they find old bones buried in the backyard, and, oh yeah, the house has maybe just a teeny tiny roach problem.  

Cull wastes no time in building tension here. The Cockroach King is only 65 pages long, but it packs a whole lot of horror into its short length. The very first line lets the reader know what we’re dealing with, and it only escalates from there. Cassie also cottons onto at least the gist of what’s happening in her backyard pretty quickly, which I always appreciate. As a reader, I don’t need 100+ pages of a character arguing with themselves over whether or not something is logical or possible. I like it when characters are willing to buy into the creepy shit happening around them fairly quickly, and Cassie definitely falls into that category.

As with all of Cull’s work, in addition to some absolutely skin-crawling moments of pure horror, The Cockroach King also packs quite the emotional punch. For such a short book, Cassie is a remarkably well fleshed-out character, and I enjoyed that the reader gets enough of her history and background to really feel emotionally invested in what happens to her and Sam.

Really my only complaint about this novella is I want MORE! As I was reading, I couldn’t help wondering about Gil’s story, and the neighborhood’s history as a whole. And, of course, I need to know more about the Cockroach King itself. But none of these wants made the story Cull presents feel any less satisfying or complete. I’m just a greedy, greedy reader who is dying for more of Cedar Street’s hidden past.

If you haven’t explored Cull’s work yet, a) you need to get on that ASAP, and b) I’d absolutely recommend The Cockroach King as a quick introduction to his wonderful style of horror.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

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