Reviewed by Rose Blackthorn
“From the author of ‘Starers’ and the short story collection ‘Devil Let Me Go’ comes a troubling, heart wrenching tale of despair, loss and what might come afterwards.”
Elliott Tather is living a good life. Happily married with a decent job and a son who he adores, it seems that life is just about perfect. Until one thing happens that makes everything else unravel. His son Evan disappears. That’s all it takes to completely undo everything else.
This is the story of a father who puts everything else on hold while he does all he can to find his child. Elliott loses interest in his job, in his friends and family, completely caught up in the ongoing search for his son – even after the authorities have given up. His wife Susannah finds a different way to cope with the loss, hiding her pain in a bottle.
For twenty years, Elliott continues his search, even if it’s only for closure. After losing his son, and his home, he only has one thing left to spend his time on. He travels the country with posters of Evan, showing what the boy would look like after aging to adulthood. One evening he stops at a small diner just before closing time to enjoy a cup of coffee and some pie, when the door opens and everything changes.
Ketchup on Everything starts out as an all-too-real horror story, about the disappearance of a child. It becomes something else altogether when Elliott begins to understand what actually happened twenty years before. Nathan Robinson has written a novelette that is heartbreaking and horrifying, in the language of a grieving parent. I was caught up in the narrative and made to understand this man’s pain – the agony of not knowing. At approximately 25000 words, this is a fairly quick read, but an emotional one that I would certainly recommend.