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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Miss Locks by Eric Arvin

Miss Locks by Eric Arvin
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (6 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Miss Virginia Locks has a date tonight, but something is wrong. She finds herself standing outside her home without any knowledge of how she got there. But what waits for her once she is back inside, a crawling, gasping thing, is even more unsettling.

Imagine you’re home alone after dark and hear an unfamiliar noise coming from the next room. How would you react?

One of my favorite types of science fiction is horror stories that are bone-chillingly frightening without the use of blood or gore. It can be difficult to accomplish this but Mr. Arvin clearly understands that sometimes the scariest thing in the world is imagining what’s lurking around the corner.

I sympathized with Virginia Locks from the first paragraph. Her racing thoughts feed into the tension and fear of this piece beautifully and while at times I wondered why she didn’t think through her reactions to certain events more rationally it’s easy to panic when something you don’t understand happens.

It would have been nice, though, to have a female protagonist who doesn’t overreact in this situation. This trope is used quite a bit in the science fiction and horror genres and as much as I enjoyed the plot and Virginia as an individual I kept hoping she’d calm down and think about the decisions she was making instead of stumbling from one reaction to the next.

Unfortunately the ending felt abrupt to me and it didn’t seem to match the tone of previous events. It wasn’t what I had expected to happen and I was a bit disappointed by how little foreshadowing had been included earlier in the tale. The beginning and ending could have been used in any number of other stories and while they were both well done there didn’t seem to be a good reason for them to be linked to one another.

Looking for a good scare? Miss Locks nearly made my heart thump out of my chest and even though I would have preferred a better bridge to the final scene this is still one of the most terrifying stories I’ve read in 2012.

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