Writtn by Tim Waggoner
Published by Samhain Publishing
If you haven’t read Tim Waggoner before and you’re looking for a heart-stopping, hit-the-ground-running story to get your feet wet, this is it. A Strange and Savage Garden opens with a scene that gets your blood pumping and doesn’t stop, until you drop. Okay, maybe not that bad, it does slow some throughout the story. After all you can’t run an entire marathon at top speed. Novellas by nature, shorter word count, are quick reads, but this is one of those you don’t want to put down until you’re done.
Eleven years ago Lauren left home and the reason for the move isn’t initially clear. With her father’s passing she must return for the burial and face those she left behind. Though her mother is alive it is her grandmother Lauren worries about seeing. Grandmother is not only the matriarch of the family, but a controlling figure in the small community. Lauren loves, respects and fears her grandmother.
But this isn’t a cozy and it doesn’t take but a word for that feeling of impending doom to come back. Remember this runs in the Horror genre, though for this reader, I found it a bit more suspenseful than scary, which scary is what I expect in a horror.
We’re introduced to the main character, Lauren, when she’s being chased by an unknown assailant. That feeling of the hot breath on the back of your neck comes through and I’m glad it was daylight when I was reading this part. We soon discover Lauren’s actually having a nightmare and this isn’t the first or last. As the story progresses these nightmares appear when she’s awake too leaving her, and the reader, to consider her sanity.
I would recommend Strange and Savage Garden to those who enjoy a horror story with that element of physiological thriller. It’s fast paced and heart pumping.
Was there anything I disliked about the story? Yes, but I’m hard pressed to put a name on what it was. Maybe the type of violence. Although I enjoy horror stories, this isn’t a story line I actively search out. I prefer the straight out other worldly monsters.
If you like this, you will also enjoy many of Tim’s other short stories and novels. Check out his website here.