Kristin Dearborn “Woman In White” Review

Posted: March 20, 2016 in Reviews, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

woman_in_white (1)

BOOK INFO

Length: 139 Pages

Publisher: DarkFuse

Release Date: February 28, 2016

Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review as part of the Woman In White Blog Tour

Woman In White is my first experience reading Kristin Dearborn’s work and I was hooked as soon as I read the synopsis. I couldn’t help but think it had all the hallmarks of my favorite type of horror story – A fierce storm stranding inhabitants in a small town cut off from civilization, a bizarre mystery, and elements of the supernatural. After reading Woman In White, I can safely say it lived up to my expectations and I am so glad I signed up for the novella’s blog tour!

Woman In White opens with Dennis, a man traveling to his lovers house in the middle of a pretty vicious winter snowstorm in Maine. He is jolted when he sees a woman unexpectedly standing in the middle of his lane and almost loses control of his car when he attempts to avoid hitting her. He can’t believe his eyes. The woman was wearing a thin white dress and no shoes, which was odd considering the harsh weather. Dennis struggles with the decision to help the woman, having had a few drinks at the bar and plans to meet Mary Beth Stanton. He is unnerved when thoughts of a horror story pop into his mind and contemplates high tailing it out of there but ultimately decides to help. His attempts at communicating with the woman fail and he ultimately wraps her up and escorts her to the warmth of his car. Despite the creepy aurora that surrounds the woman (not leaving footprints, a catatonic trance, etc), Dennis heads towards town to help the woman.

The next morning, Angela Warren is working her shift at the diner and overhears some regulars talking about how his car was found in the middle of River Road, abandoned aside from a massive quantity of blood that coated every inch of the vehicle. Dennis wasn’t the only person to go missing. Despite the blood evidence left in the car, the cops were unable to say with confidence the blood belonged to Dennis. There were issues with the samples preventing them from matching it to Dennis.

State Trooper Vince Staghorn and forensic chemist LeeAnne Dudley are tasked with taking a trip from Portland to Rocky Rhodes to look into the latest disappearance. They think this will be a quick open and shut case and a chance to get away together and spend time where no one will discover their secret affair. However, it doesn’t take long after their arrival in Rocky Rhodes that they get a call about another crime scene. This latest report marks the fourth missing person in the last few weeks and as they begin combing over the scenes for evidence, LeeAnne makes a startling discovery about the blood that others have overlooked. There is usually a lot blood found at the crime scenes, but something had broken down the DNA. Usually this means someone attempted to destroy the evidence, but LeeAnne was unable to find any proof of that happening. The other thing that connected all of the cases was that all of the victims reported missing were men. It soon becomes clear that something sinister is going on as more and more men are going missing around Rocky Rhodes.

As the worst snow storm in ten years brings Rocky Rhodes to a halt, LeeAnne, Angela and Mary Beth are plunged into a search for answers that will bring them face to face with unimaginable horror as they learn the shocking truth about the Woman In White.

What intrigued me the most was Dearborn’s original take on the Woman in White/White Lady urban legend. I don’t want to spoil Dearborn’s reveal in any way because the twist about what is really going on is one of the things that makes this novella so enjoyable. I thought for sure that Woman In White was going to be a traditional ghost story or maybe a vampire story, but I was totally surprised by what Dearborn unleashes on readers with her Woman in White figure in the second half of the story. While I thought her take on this figure was awesome and pretty damn frightening, I would have liked some more background about the character. There are a few scenes from the Woman In White’s perspective, but it never really gives a concrete picture of its motives or how it chooses its victims.

 Dearborn does an excellent job of crafting tension by setting her tale in Rocky Rhodes, a small town located in the Maine wilderness. It is isolated and cell phone service is virtually nonexistent, which makes it the perfect location for the horrors Dearborn unleashes on the town and its residents. I am a big fan of horror stories that are set in the winter. The idea of being stranded in the wilderness due to the elements and the inability to call for help makes for a creepy setting and only amplifies the terror felt by the characters. Ever notice how when you go outside during a major snowstorm and everything seems to be quiet and still? Normally this would be a peaceful and beautiful experience, but with the strange disappearances swirling around Rocky Rhodes, it creates a suffocating atmosphere of fear. Dearborn’s vivid descriptions of the storm and the town is one of the things that really helped me lose myself in Woman In White. 

Dearborn builds an impressive cast of characters and despite the relatively short length of Woman In White, she brings them all to life, from the main characters down to random residents of Rocky Rhodes. Angela struggles with the small town nature of Rocky Rhodes and the rumors surrounding her personal life, biding her time until she can leave behind her abusive ex-boyfriend for a new start in the city at college. Her ex Nate tries to maker her life a living hell, but Angela still finds herself torn between him and her feelings for  Jason, the owner of the diner who had been in the military. Mary Beth mourns the death of her lover Dennis. She was always careful not to refer to him as her boyfriend, but it is clear that his disappearance weighs heavily on her life. Woman In White offers up plenty of supernatural thrills, but there is also elements of real-life evil sprinkled throughout the  story. Angela’s ex Nate is every bit as creepy as the titular Woman In White. He is a total slimeball and throughout the course of this novella, his increasing displays of evil and brutality is responsible for some truly hair-raising moments.

Woman In White is a thrilling novella that offers the perfect mix of atmospheric tension and gruesome scenes that I think will appeal to a wide variety of horror fans. I was totally caught up in the action from the moment I started reading and I have a feeling Woman In White will make my year-end list in the novella category. While Woman In White works well as a standalone story, I can’t help but hope that Dearborn writes another book featuring the Woman In White in the future!

Rating: 4.5/5

LINKS

Kristin Dearborn’s Official Website

DarkFuse’s Official Website

Purchase Woman In White: Amazon, DarkFuse, or your favorite bookstore

Woman In White tour graphic

Use these hashtags to help spread the word about Woman In White! – #WomaninWhite #DarkFuse #IcyHorror

Woman In White Synopsis

Rocky Rhodes, Maine.

As a fierce snowstorm descends upon the sleepy little town, a Good Samaritan stops to help a catatonic woman sitting in the middle of the icy road, and is never seen or heard from again. When the police find his car, it is splattered in more blood than the human body can hold.

While the storm rages on, the wave of disappearances continue, the victims sharing only one commonality: they are all male. Now it’s up to three young women to figure out who or what is responsible: a forensic chemist, a waitress struggling with an abusive boyfriend, and a gamer coping with the loss of her lover.

Their search will lead them on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors that are all connected to a mysterious Woman in White.

Praise for Woman In White

“Horror born straight from a nor’easter, Dearborn’s Woman in White is a great read for a winter night—with a monster I’ll never forget.” Christopher Irvin, author of Federales and Burn Cards

“Kristin Dearborn’s Woman in White is a rip-roaring monster tale with sharp-eyed characterization and something to say about the power dynamics between men and woman. Thought-provoking and entertaining as hell!” Tim Waggoner, author of Eat the Night


“Great stuff! Suspenseful, quickly paced, unpredictable and wonderfully evil tale. Kristin Dearborn’s best yet!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

About Kristin Dearborn

kdearborn

If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She’s written books such as Sacrifice Island (DarkFuse), Trinity (DarkFuse), and had fiction published in several magazines and anthologies. Stolen Away was recently a limited edition offered from Thunderstorm Books, which sold out. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!), she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe. Find more on Kristin at http://kristindearborn.com/.

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