Fade To Pale
James Cheetham

Wild Child Publishing
Paperback $15.99 282pp
Review by David Simms

Writing about mental illness in dark fiction is never a simple task. Too many tread the same tired neuroses, either getting the details right or delving into the patient’s psyche, but without a true feel for that life. Cheetham hits the bullseye in this story of young Rita, a character who has endured much as a child, then as a woman, which leaves her fragmented. Yet with the emergence of Emily, a girl who may or not be real, a ghost, or simply a projection of Rita’s damaged mind, the author succeeds in fleshing out a very real, living breathing woman whose life crumbles quicker than her mind.

Fade To Pale builds as Rita deconstructs while the reader is pulled along for a very schizophrenic ride. Cheetham’s prose takes the reader on a bumpy but intriguing journey through Rita’s broken mind, but what makes it so fascinating is how it breaks, how it affects her life, and most importantly, how the person inside is affected by the mental trauma.

Beyond all this is a nice tale that is scary for many reasons. For the sake of not spoiling the fun, those reasons will not be given, but if one ever mused over what it is like to lose his or her mind, this is a great quiet horror tale.

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