What Are We Reading?: But Worse Will Come, by CC Adams
3/5 Rotting Curses
Give me the short version:
Brushed by evil as a child, Theo is going to discover that you never really escape.
Please note that I gave this three out of five because I didn't click with the protagonist.
Keep reading, though: But Worse Will Come is solidly executed, and it might be right up your alley.
Theo is being relentlessly hunted by an ancient evil, and the ghoul was my favourite part of this story. CC Adams has been bold in giving us the monster's POV (often avoided in horror fiction, presumably in case humanising a monster by giving it a voice might reduce its threat) which really pays off in ratcheting up the tension as Theo struggles to escape. The ghoul is gritty, profane and believable.
My main difficulty was that CC Adams wrote Theo as a bit of a chav, and in my opinion did it far too well. From Theo's race-radar, his constant big-dicking around other men, to evaluating women on bangability in wildly inappropriate situations, I struggled to find much to like. It was when he smugly congratulated himself for kicking the shit out of a younger, slighter-built dude that I decided I was firmly on team ghoul.
But Worse Will Come is a neat, well put together story but for me to be seeing the world through Theo's narcissistic filters ultimately robbed the other characters of their depth.
"Damian crouched beside the garment, now clearly a suit jacket. It stunk of a grave. He picked it up, peeling it off the pavement, and the same metallic scrape came again from within the breast pocket. Something cool and viscous slid over his fingers and he recoiled, crying out. Clutching the jacket by its hem, he upended it and shook it.
Along with his phone, a heap of old jewellery, silver and gold, spilled onto the pavement, clattering in the silence. Dull and tarnished watches sat with motionless faces as neck chains snaked through the pile. Smaller than a ring, but entirely conspicuous, were a couple of gold pebbles. Damian tilted his head, frowning.
They were gold teeth."