Review: “Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires,” Michelle Garza, Melissa Lason

Pros: Decent tale of demonic horror
Cons: Stilted, awkward style and laughable dialogue
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason’s Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires attempts to cross a tale of demonic killings and possession with an odd bit of rural horror worldbuilding. The “others” or “ancestors” are a group of pagans who escaped persecution by fleeing their home and coming to Twin Lakes, Washington. They live well past the normal lifespan and have certain unusual abilities. They settled in with some other unusual creatures, such as werewolves, and keep the human population of their town largely unaware of the strange things that exist in the universe. Liz, who was hitch-hiking, was attacked and nearly raped while passing through town. She stumbled across a dead body at a fire, where she made contact with something evil. The others in town aren’t so sure they should allow her to leave–they can’t risk anyone finding out that their town isn’t perfectly normal. But at the same time, they desperately need to track down a supernatural serial killer before the normal people notice that something’s amiss.

The language in this book comes across as stiff and stilted; it doesn’t flow naturally. Dialogue often gets cheesy and silly. The others come across as a bunch of cranky, gossipy, catty people rather than a nifty and intriguing society. Most of them also seem to think they’re better than anyone around them, which makes them obnoxious and unlikable. Even major ancestor characters, such as Dr. Michael Aaron, don’t exhibit much personality. The setup with the ancestors is also overly complex, and the lengthy explanations included just derail the pacing.

The climactic battle is a bit confusing. Also, the rhythms of it don’t feel natural. It’s just beat after beat after beat with no ebb and flow. It’s an extension of the stiffness that I noted earlier. I feel like reading this book aloud would pinpoint a lot of the awkwardness involved.

Standard horror novel content warning for some blood and gore; nothing too outlandish. As a standard horror book about demonic influence and serial killing this is maybe average. As an attempt at building up one of those rural horror towns for repeat visits, it fails in my eyes. The town has no real creepy atmosphere to it; the others are just too mundane and annoying. I’m afraid I don’t find myself wanting to make repeat visits to this town.

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