Just Like Hell / Mr. Gray by Nate Southard from Austin, Texas.
This book contains two novellas, Just Like Hell and Mr. Gray, the former being a violent outpouring in a realistic situation, the latter a more intelligent and original horror piece. I wouldn’t have reviewed Just Like Hell as a standalone because I can tell that it’s well written; I’m just not the right reader for it.
In Just Like Hell, Dillon is a successful, popular high school student. However, he harbours a secret that not even his closest friends are in on. At least, he didn’t think they were.
Even his best friends don’t know. They might not understand. They might overreact.
I’m not a sensitive reader, but I did find Just Like Hell a little over the top, lingering on violent details when it wasn’t always necessary. I favour psychological horror over slasher horror, so perhaps I’m not the intended audience for this one.
In Mr. Gray, the bad guy isn’t even human. He’s some kind of evil spirit with psychopathic, twisted intentions. Mr Gray preys on children and not many of them survive. Can anyone stop him?
I don’t always give books ratings but I’ve decided to score Just Like Hell/Mr. Gray 4/5 stars. To break it down, I give Just Like Hell a 3/5 and Mr. Gray a solid 5/5. I will be keeping an eye out for work by the fried-chicken fanatic, Nate Southard in future. Even if am a vegetarian. Can’t hold that against an author. He’s also bad at skateboarding and I probably would be too if I tried it, so I think we’d get on.
Paperback, 184 pages
Published April 8th 2017 by Sinister Grin Press
Other books by Nate Southard: Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again?, This Little Light of Mine, Broken Skin and more. His short story “Going Home, Ugly Stick in Hand” received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s The Year’s Best Horror, and he earned a Bram Stoker Award nomination for his story “In the Middle of Poplar Street.”