Reviewed by Marvin Vernon
Tim Waggoner’s novella The Last Mile is one of the wildest literary rides I have taken in a long time. It is amazing how much the author has given us in just 140 pages. Waggoner has created a hellish post-apocalypse word full of demonic ancient ones that have enslaved humans and much worse. The Lovecraftian influences are undeniable but the author has created his own distinct hellhole which he calls The World After. It a terrible but riveting bit of landscape.
In The Last Mile, Dan used to be a normal family man. Yet when the ancient ones arrives he is forced to serve them to save his family. Now marked as one of the ancient ones’ thralls, he is taking an abducted woman, Alice, to his master to serve as a sacrifice. Most of the story happens in the last mile to his master’s residence but we are given flashbacks to Dan’s and Alice’s life during the arrival of the terror that now dominates the world. The change of narrative from the present to glimpses of the two protagonist’s past flows effortlessly with no lull and plenty of surprises. It all leads to a very satisfying twist at the end.
The tale is so short that to say anything else would give too much away and if there is a downside to this novella, that is it. I wanted the story to continue. There is enough fascinating descriptions and glimpses into The World After that I felt there was enough to continue into several novels. I truly hope Waggoner continues to explore his demonic world with or without the characters in this book. In the meantime, we have this delicious terror romp and it comes highly recommended to all those with a yearning for tales of horror that do not let up or disappoint. It is another home run from Darkfuse’s impressive series of short novels.