When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother’s home in rural North Carolina, she finds long-hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woods.
When Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother’s house, she says yes. After all, how bad could it be?
Answer: pretty bad. Grandma was a hoarder, and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish. That would be horrific enough, but there’s more—Mouse stumbles across her step-grandfather’s journal, which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rants…until Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself.
Alone in the woods with her dog, Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors—because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real, and they’re looking for you. And if she doesn’t face them head on, she might not survive to tell the tale.
From Hugo Award–winning author Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher.
Title: The Twisted Ones | Author: T. Kingfisher | Publisher: Gallery / Saga Press | Pub. Date: 2019-10-1 | Pages: 400 | ISBN13: 9781534429574 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Content Warnings: At Bottom of Post | Source: Self-purchased | Starred Review
The Twisted Ones Review
If I had to give one word for why I liked this book, it would be “Bongo”. I am so glad that the author makes it clear from the beginning that the dog doesn’t die. I mean, most of the time I hate it when the dog dies anyways, but if BONGO would have died? Oh, hell no.
Because this…this is this lovable dog:
“But I had Bongo, and he saved our lives because he is simple and made of nose.”-T. Kingfisher, The Twisted Ones
Sweet baby Cthulhu, I could easily make this whole review about that flatulent, stupid coonhound. The author did a fantastic job of encapsulating the loving ridiculousness of not-too-bright dogs in this book. I think if she had even tried to off Bongo I and several other readers would have rioted.
Anyways, the author’s prose is fantastic. Lots of great one-liners in the book like:
“I owned more ropes and harnesses and tie-outs and carabiners than a dedicated bondage enthusiast. “-T. Kingfisher, The Twisted Ones
Even when things were fairly dire for everyone involved, I still ended up snorting at lines like:
“Shit, what am I, the monster whisperer?”-T. Kingfisher, The Twisted Ones
Mouse was a good character, but without Bongo she would have been fairly forgettable. With Bongo and the other character who plays ass-saving sidekick? She was great. This is the golden trio adults deserve.
Lots of adult horrors in here. Not in terms of graphic bloodshed or whatnot, but actual real-life adult horrors. Like the idea of having to clean out a dead hoarder relative’s house. *shudders* I mean, seriously, it could have been marketed as horror based on that alone. But there’s also a good dose of the supernatural stuff as well that kicks in around the 40% mark and just doesn’t let up after that.
When the action picks up, I went straight from just enjoying her prose to “Oh, hell, I’m glad I don’t live in the boondocks anymore.” If I did, there’d be no chance I wouldn’t be sleeping with the lights on tonight. Effigies are fricking weird enough on their own.
The only part I didn’t like was the contents of the Green Book. I didn’t mind a little bit here and there about it, but at one point there’s this reading of a partially-remembered manuscript and – yeah – I’ll admit it – I skimmed.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. It never really engaged me completely (which is probably more my fault than the books) but I enjoyed it every time I picked it up, and that’s something. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.