Devin Goveare
Samhain Publishing
July 7, 2015
Reviewed by Tim Potter

Girrrl is a new novella from author Devin Goveare that combines sharp characterization and precision plotting to create a very satisfying horror read. The highlight of the book is its lead character, ten-year-old Kelly Carter, who comes to life off the page as a real living and breathing young girl. She’s smart, ambitious, interesting and flawed in ways that will endear her to most readers. The story is not quite as unique as Kelly, but it is presented with an attention to detail and sharp use of prose that will keep readers attention when the plot fails to surprise.

Kelly Carter has been dragged away from her home in Hartford, Connecticut to spend the summer in rural Maine, at Kildare Lake. At the outset of the story Kelly finds herself torn between wanting to be at home with her friends, cable TV and the internet or at the cabin on the lake helping take care of her younger brother. Kelly’s brother Cody is suffering from a life-threatening ailment and may not survive through the summer and her commitment to his is heartfelt and painful. Cody is also a strong character, though the economy of words the story employees doesn’t leave much time for his development. Kelly parents are likewise interesting and unique, as are the locals in Kildare Village who are present little more than in passing.

The story is interesting and fun if not terrible unique to the horror genre. The mysterious illness that has befallen Cody leads the family to summer at the remote Kildare Lake. What develops is a story of a possible lake creature that seems to call out to Kelly, whose bravery doesn’t necessarily extend to the lake. The origin of the lake creature becomes tied into the history of the town and an unstoppable curse that dates back countless generations.

As small town horror and creature features go Girrrl is always fun and and very well written, every word is precise and none go to waste. As a character piece the book is nothing short of a complete success, from Kelly and the Carter clan to the smallest characters who only make appearances in passing. Horror fans will enjoy Goveare’s latest work and likely not be able to put it down from the first word to the last.

About Tim Potter

Tim Potter is a teacher and lover of all things books.

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