Jan 18, 2010: First: a warning. This story is most definitely not safe for work. There is violence and mature (sexual) themes, and not in the nice way. This is meant to disturb.
My review: Haunting Sins is the type of horror tale that sneaks up on you. It starts off mild, like a pinprick of fear. I can handle this, you think. Then it gets a little worse. Still doing fine, still reading. Then a little worse, and then worse, and all of a sudden you realize that – actually – the story is pretty damn creepy, and you’re too far in to turn back.
With only 9 parts total, this novella is a quick read, and one I gulped in one sitting. It’s eerie, starting off mundane and sinking slowly into the bizarre and twisted, with just enough intrigue throughout to keep the reader’s interest.
I’m not very widely read when it comes to horror, but the plot seemed to me quite original. The supernatural elements didn’t rely on tired stereotypes and thus were unpredictable, adding to the overall mystery. And “mystery” is a good word to describe this story: this is horror, with a kind of murder-mystery undertone.
That said, my main gripe with the story was about this very murder mystery. The reveal and story resolution came too close together; we’d barely figured out what had really been going on before the story was over. I felt that the reveal lacked foreshadowing; things didn’t enjoyably click into place at the end, rather, we were taken down a corridor that wasn’t really visible beforehand.
I cannot deny, however, that the story was an entertaining read. After a slightly slow beginning, the story picks up and introduces distinctive, likeable characters. David is sometimes adorably bumbling, when he’s not freaked out of his wits, and secretary Nina made me smile several times.
The writing is solid, atmospheric, evenly balanced between dialogue and description, so no complaints there.
The website itself is easy to navigate, although I prefer hard returns between paragraphs on-screen; I found the blockiness of the text a little wearying on the eye.
In sum, creepy, quick, quality horror. What are you waiting for?
[[This review is cross-posted from my blog - like Shutsumon, I'd reviewed the story before, but it wasn't listed on WFG at the time.]]