book review, horror, nonfiction, short story

The Hand Off by Paul Carro

Something a little different today in the form of a novella, a short story and three true ghost tales.

In The Hand Off, a yummy mummy, her seven year old daughter and her ex-husband’s new squeeze run from the creatures from the frozen lake.

What I liked about this novella was the initial description of the monsters appearing below the ice and the theme of appearances can be deceiving.

There were some things that drew me out of the story, such as a still running truck that didn’t have keys in the ignition and the same truck having to be backed down a road for a mile before it can turn, then going back the way it came and suddenly being able to turn around this time?

However, the biggest disappointment for me were the creatures. I couldn’t wrap my head around bipedal frozen lake dwelling fish men who could run around on land no problem and had white eyes like the blind angler fish that lives at the deepest part of the ocean.

I’ve nothing against such creatures, but the author didn’t sell them to me. Their abilities and intelligence were changeable. No explanation was hinted at as to how they could survive on land and under ice without any problem. The fact that they were blind didn’t seem to slow them down one bit. They hunted in a pack but were every fish man for himself. It confused me.

Norway, Maine, is the first of the three true ghost stories. The author recounts an experience at his cousin’s house when he was a child. It’s terrifying.

Windham, Maine is the second ghost story and took place when the author was thirteen. It concerns a lodge building and something sinister. Unfortunately he doesn’t share the stories he found about the building when he investigated, because I get the impression there is a good one here.

Hollywood, CA is the third ghost story. This time the author is twenty-one, with a friend and staying in a hotel. It is an interesting ghostly encounter that is told well.

Cul de sac is a short story that rounds out the volume. It is a ghost story of sorts, about a strange van that appears outside the house of a lonely young man.

Unfortunately, this story didn’t work for me at all. It is mired down by lengthy descriptions that didn’t add to the narrative. The main character is hard to like and the central premise is underdeveloped.

Overall, the true ghost stories were a hit but the fiction missed the target for me.

I award The Hand Off

The Hand Off is available for $1.30 ebook on Amazon.

5 thoughts on “The Hand Off by Paul Carro”

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