Publisher: Wilde City Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Lana is a faded movie star who lives alone in a big house on a hill that overlooks the sea. She has lived this way since the death of her daughter and the disappearance of her husband.
Jeff and Chloe are a couple who live in a cabin below the big house. It was Chloe’s idea to strengthen their marriage; but she see’s now that it isn’t working. Jeff has become obsessed with the cabin and the old water well. Chloe only sees strangeness around her.
One night while talking on the computer with Ethan, Jeff’s brother, a feeling of dread comes to the fore. When Ethan sees a figure behind Chloe, he leaves his boyfriend and baby and sets out to save Jeff.
Chloe, Ethan and Lana come together to fight an evil that would destroy Jeff. Will they succeed or will all of them fall to the taste of a young cannibalistic ghost?
Review: Chloe Singh-Cane has always had feelings about things, things not quite of this world. She did her best to ignore them, to not see what was hidden to most people.
In a last ditch effort to save their failing marriage, Chloe buys a cottage just outside of the small town of Wicker – a way for her and Jeff to get away from their current life and maybe re-connect. A year of regret and recriminations, the consequence of Chloe’s choices. But, really, buying a cottage on a place called Bad Luck Hill by the locals should have been a heads up that things were not going to go according to plan! Their neighbour, and previous owner of the cottage, is faded movie star Lana Pruitt. Lana has her fair share of secrets. Years ago she lost her only child, a daughter Rebecca, and not long after, her husband Michael disappeared. Her days are spent at the big house up the hill from the cottage, avoiding everything and everyone.
Despite Chloe’s efforts, Jeff has not been able to forgive or forget and it becomes increasingly obvious he has no wish to try anymore. Maybe he never really tried. Past events showed Jeff had a darkness in him, a shade of selfishness. A way in, perhaps, for something with ill intentions. As the couple settle into their new home, Chloe’s unease builds, her feelings becoming more and more impossible to ignore. There’s something else besides them in the cottage, and it does not mean them any good. Meanwhile, Jeff’s efforts to fix the cottage and the nearby barn slip further and further into obsession. The old well demands his attention and it increasingly becomes Jeff’s sole focus.
Jeff’s younger brother, Ethan, finds himself thinking of his estranged brother. Jeff was always the Golden Boy in their family. Although they’ve barely talked for a couple of years, he feels compelled to reach out to Jeff, half-convinced that something is wrong. Ethan has built a good life with his husband Kenton and their young child, but resentment of the older brother who abandoned him still remains. Despite that, when Chloe calls obviously fearful of the strange illness that has taken over Jeff, Ethan goes to them to offer what help he can. What he finds there is more than can be explained away by logic.
Wow, this story was deliciously creepy from beginning to end. I felt off balance in the best possible sense, never quite knowing what was around the corner.
The Rascal isn’t a romance. There is no sex. This is a horror story through and through. It is atmospheric and menacing and keeps you off balance. Just like a good horror story should. The opening prologue reaches out and grabs you, like it’s saying “you better hang on tight, because this story is going to take you on one hell of a ride”. And it did. The malevolence of the rascal is incredibly disturbing with how it seeps into the thoughts of everyone. I literally had no idea how this was all going to end up. They all had bitterness that the rascal could feed off to find a way in. They all had genuine love that could give them the strength to keep him out. There were twists that blindsided me and kept me on my toes.
The imagery is wonderfully emotive. Creepy and melancholic, the author’s deft touch presents a great sense of unease, building the tension as this couple’s broken relationship feeds and strengthens whatever spirit resides within the cottage and its surrounds. The Rascal kept me captivated as the events played out to an uncompromising end. This is horror at its best.