I don’t normally love short stories or novelettes (whatever this is technically considered), and I didn’t even really know what this was about when I started it, but this was SO GOOD, and I loved it!
Seriously, the writing was fantastic, kind of beautiful and eloquent but also funny here and there. And it all flowed seamlessly.
The audiobook narration by Tim Gilbert was equally fantastic, so natural-sounding with all the right emotion, and for me as an American, listening to a British narrator was much better than trying and failing to imagine a decent accent in my head. It gave the story an authenticity that it wouldn’t have quite had if I had read it the normal way.
The characterization for all the characters was so good that I felt like I knew each character within mere minutes of meeting them. I liked both David and Lowry, and I immediately felt for David. He was down-to-earth and real, and he brought a grounded-ness to the story, even when things got weird.
There was an air of creepy, surreal supernaturalness to the story for a bit (that eventually became clearer and not-so-creepy), but also a sweet romance, and also a heavier aspect about David’s troubled youth and how it still haunted him.
The sex scene was a bit odd, but safe and consensual, and I loved how David was realistic about it and wanted to make it good for Lowry.
I would’ve liked some closure in the ending. A lot was left hanging, and I’d like to know if these characters get a happy ending or not. But I suppose that’s sometimes the nature of short stories.
Overall, this sucked me in, and I loved the writing, the characters, and the story!
Anyone who likes short fiction, eloquent writing, imperfect characters, the supernatural, M/M stories, and open endings.
Halloween is a wild, weird night in the lonely moorland towns of the north. It’s dark and cold, and cracks can open up in the fabric of the safest world.
Davey Bell has been trying to live safely. He’s struggled through a rough adolescence and has a decent job, a home of his own. He agrees to a meeting with his ex, even though Burdo got him into so much trouble in the past.
But Burdo has plans, armed robbery amongst them. When Davey recoils from his efforts at blackmail, Burdo swears he’ll track him down. There’s something inhuman about Burdo’s rage, and Davey panics and runs from him. The town is small, the darkness beyond it absolute. Davey has lived there all his life, but he takes a wrong turn on the moorland road and is suddenly lost.
It’s the first night of winter, and set to freeze hard. Not much chance of survival for a man without shelter, a man on the run from his past… Then Davey stumbles into the forest, and his fears of Burdo and the cold dissolve to nothing at the sound of deep, bestial growls.
The moon is full. Ancient moorland legends are coming to life in its silvery radiance. Out of the woodland steps a strange young man, and the snarling beasts fall back. He’s offering sanctuary, but at what price? He’s the most beautiful creature Davey has ever seen. If Davey follows him in fascination through the gateway of Wolf Hall, what secrets will unfold before the dawn?