Short Take: “Dear Laura,” Gemma Amor

Pros: Horrifying!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Gemma Amor’s novella Dear Laura introduces us to a woman on a mission. When she was 14, her best friend Bobby got into a mysterious car and disappeared, never to be seen again. Now every year on her birthday, she gets a letter from a man who says he’ll give her clues to where Bobby’s body is buried if she trades him personal items. Like used underwear or a used toothbrush. His clues provide coordinates, but so far she hasn’t found anything. When she decides to finally go to the police, she discovers just how much power over her this man really has, and how close to her he is. She’s finally able to elude him for a number of years, but he ultimately returns. And now there’s one last clue to follow.

This story does get mildly bloody, and Laura’s despair is writ large on the page, which isn’t always easy to read (but hey, that’s horror). She’s understandably damaged, and this shows up in her personality in fascinating ways. Amor manages to find ways to make it believable that Laura doesn’t go to the authorities as time goes on, which was my biggest worry about this story. There are some questions we never get answers to, which is realistic, but difficult as a reader of course. It’s at least good to see that not all of Laura’s life is misery and fear.

This is a comparatively short work, but it’s intense and fascinating. I recommend it for horror fans.

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