Haunting Sins by Zoe E. Whitten

I’d been meaning to read something of Zoe E. Whitten‘s for a long while, ever since I read her awesome short story published on The New Bedlam Project.

So when Becky recommended Haunting Sins, I decided to give it a try.

But first: a warning. This story is most definitely not safe for work. There is violence and mature (sexual) themes, and not in the nice way. This is meant to disturb. You have been warned!

******

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Reading horror isn’t one of my favourites pastimes. I scare easily. I have nightmares about being the main character. So I try to avoid horror as much as possible. But when a horror story is written in the style of Haunting Sins, it’s hard not to get sucked in and keep reading.

Haunting Sins is the type of horror tale that sneaks up on you. It starts off mild, like a pinprick of fear. I can handle this, you think. Then it gets a little worse. Still doing fine, still reading. Then a little worse, and then worse, and all of a sudden you realize that – actually – the story is pretty damn creepy, and you’re too far in to turn back.

Plot summary:

University graduate David suffers from the bane of the educated: he is overqualified for every available job on the market. Penniless, desperate, and with mounting bills he can’t afford, David accepts a job as webmaster for a company working in the [ahem] adult industry. But working in IT brings a lot more hardships than anyone would’ve expected, and some of them aren’t even alive….

Thoughts:

With only 9 parts total, this novella is a quick read, and one I gulped in one sitting. It’s eerie, starting off mundane and sinking slowly into the bizarre and twisted, with just enough intrigue throughout to keep the reader’s interest.

I’m not very widely read when it comes to horror, but the plot seemed to me quite original. The supernatural elements didn’t rely on tired stereotypes and thus were unpredictable, adding to the overall mystery. And “mystery” is a good word to describe this story: this is horror, with a kind of murder-mystery undertone.

That said, my main gripe with the story was about this very murder mystery. The reveal and story resolution came too close together; we’d barely figured out what had really been going on before the story was over. I felt that the reveal lacked foreshadowing; things didn’t enjoyably click into place at the end, rather, we were taken down a corridor that wasn’t really visible beforehand.

I cannot deny, however, that the story was an entertaining read. After a slightly slow beginning, the story picks up and introduces distinctive, likeable characters. David is sometimes adorably bumbling, when he’s not freaked out of his wits, and secretary Nina made me smile several times.

The writing is solid, atmospheric, evenly balanced between dialogue and description, so no complaints there.

The website itself is easy to navigate, although I prefer hard returns between paragraphs on-screen; I found the blockiness of the text a little wearying on the eye.

In sum, creepy, quick, quality horror. What are you waiting for?

Read it for free online here
This book is one of my 100+ Reading Challenge!

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About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
This entry was posted in Horror, Reviews, Webfiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Haunting Sins by Zoe E. Whitten

  1. This book does sound good, but too good as in I’m going to be scared witless, I’m not great with Horror books I usually find them scarier than Horror films. Get too psychologically involved in a book. Have been reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series recently which is meant to be is Fantasy books still scares me witless :-)

  2. Pingback: Review: Haunting Sins « Zoe Whitten’s Blog

  3. Pingback: Review: Haunting Sins « Zoe E. Whitten's blog

  4. kimberlyloomis says:

    Good review and, I admit, to be intrigued! I don’t typically read/watch horror (same reasons you and Jessica mentioned) but am thinking about checking this out. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: review: wake up with the kimellians « quillsandzebras

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