Samhain Publishing has been quickly moving up my list of favorite publishers due to the quality horror fiction that it publishes. I have a lot of review copies of books by Samhain Publishing that I have been trying to find time to read and thought I would make a small dent in the pile by reading “Abram’s Bridge” by Glenn Rolfe.
When Lil Ron’s mother left him and his father for a new man, Lil Ron was forced to move back to the town of his father’s youth as he and his dad moved in with his grandmother. Alone in the new town, Lil Ron finds a friend when he rides his bike down to Abram’s Bridge. This strange girl, who tell Lil Ron to call her Sweet Kate, quickly becomes the best friend that he has ever had. In fact, he is beginning to think that she may be the perfect friend if not for one little flaw: Sweet Kate is a ghost.
Lil Ron soon becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Sweet Kate and solving the mystery of her murder. Even as his relationship with his father becomes more strained, Lil Ron learns a little about Sweet Kate’s death that leads him in a direction that could lead to a dark secret from his family’s past. Lil Ron must discover the identity of Sweet Kate’s murderer and shed light on one of the darkest secrets of the town before he becomes another forgotten soul like Sweet Kate.
“Abram’s Bridge” is a relatively short novella but it still packs a punch. Rolfe manages to capture a sense of childhood wonder when Lil Ron first becomes enamored with Sweet Kate that makes the violent events that occur later in the story even more striking. The story starts with an almost whimsical feel that left me scratching my head. I was enjoying the story but it was not at all what I was expecting. Then the darkness started creeping in and the story started to take on a much more serious tone. Finally, as the story neared conclusion, the darkness finally comes all the way through and hits the reader like a punch to the gut. What started as an almost idyllic tale turns to one of total carnage that had me cringing at times. The story is well written with a pace that allows for character and plot development while ensuring that there is never a dull moment.
While I enjoyed “Abram’s Bridge” and would recommend it to anyone, the one downfall of the story is that I thought that it was a little too obvious. I figured out the identity of Sweet Kate’s murderer too quickly and that took some of the suspense out of the story. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if this had not been the case. Even with this, “Abram’s Bridge” is an enjoyable story with just the right mix of heart and terror to give the reader a horror story with a soul.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “Abram’s Bridge” is scheduled to be released by Samhain Publishing in December.