Short Take: “The Secret Name,” Eve Harms

Rating: 3 out of 5

Eve Harms brings us the short tale The Secret Name (Kendra Temples: The Demonic Diaries) in the form of a series of blog posts. It’s an intriguing and original attempt, but it often makes the scary material feel like it’s being held at arm’s length.

Kendra Temples is in desperate need of a job–her boyfriend Steve is getting pretty upset at the amount of back rent she owes. When she finds a job listing for a librarian for a private book collection, she knows she’s found her dream job. Unfortunately, after interviewing, she hears nothing back for a couple of months. She reluctantly agrees to work for Steve’s creepy father in his tanning salon. When she finally hears that she got the librarian job, she quickly dumps the tanning salon gig. The library in question turns out to be very old and HUGE, and in particular Eli, the wealthy film producer, wants her to find the occult section. When Kendra hears screaming within the house and finds out Eli has a wife locked away, she starts becoming suspicious as to what’s really going on.

Kendra does everything that the star of a horror movie would do while the audience sits back and rails about how stupid they’re being. She charges into all the places she’s not supposed to be. She breaks every promise she makes to anyone, seemingly without even hesitating to think about it. She fails to listen to every warning. It makes it really hard to relate to her as a protagonist. She’s also a bit of a flake who rarely takes anything seriously.

Between Kendra as a protagonist, the reliance on Kendra being a foolish flake to forward the plot, and the fact that the blog entry format keeps things at a remove, I can’t give this more than a 3/5. I wish I could, because the story is interesting, and the images of books and papers included in the story are really neat.

Content note for a little bit of animal harm.

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