I was a HUGE horror fan when I was younger. I loved scary movies and scary books with a passion. Zombies that want to eat my brain? Bring it on. Creepy child-murdering clowns that live in the sewer? I’ll read that (multiple times!). Haunted houses, weird noises, all the ghosts and goblins that go bump in the night, I. Was. IN. And then, as an adult, I moved away from reading these things. The only reason I can think of is that maybe adult life was scary enough without the added fear, but I’ve come to realize how much I’ve missed this particular genre, and so when Danish author Nick Clausen offered me a copy of They Come At Night (Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2019), a horror novella (just LOOK at that cover!!!), for review, I readily accepted.
Jayden and his friends are average teenagers with plans for some serious fun. His friend Richard’s parents are off to Paris and what they don’t know won’t hurt them, so the kids are using their cottage, located on what seems to be a sparsely populated beachfront, for a little getaway. It’s time for sand, some beer, and ogling the super gorgeous Sienna, but things go awry almost immediately when they spot a boy in a red shirt nailing an iron anchor into the woodwork of the cottage door. He runs off, but after a night of strange occurrences that include loud banging and the terrace door being covered in odd scratch marks, they find the boy again. Chris had been attempting to nail the anchor to the door to protect the house against…them, those creatures that left the scratch marks. The former owners didn’t protect themselves, you see, and now they’re dead. All the locals know about this. They know what’s coming; the vast majority of them have fled town for the time being, and so should Jayden and friends. The teens don’t heed his warnings, but they should, because when the tide comes in at night, so do they.
At 70 pages, this is a quick read, but it’s CREEPY. Jayden and his friends make all the wrong moves at pretty much every turn (you know how you want to scream at the characters in a horror movie, “Don’t you know you’re in a horror movie? DON’T GO UP THERE!!!” Plenty of that in here!), placing themselves directly in the path of these terrifying creatures (ones I hadn’t even begun to imagine!), all of it leading to an absolutely terrifying conclusion that will keep your heart pounding until the end and leave you never wanting to go anywhere near the ocean again.
I finished reading this the evening of April 23rd. That night, after I went to bed, I kept waking up (not because of the story; I wake up a lot at night for various reasons), and every time, my mind immediately went back to this story and what they were (no spoilers!), and how it all ended. It’s still on my mind (and I’m glad we’re going to a lake this summer and NOT the ocean!). It’s been years since I really read much horror, but between They Come At Night and Welcome to Halcyon (Dead Mawl #1), which I read earlier this year, I definitely think it’s a genre I need to explore a little further.
Nick Clausen is traditionally published in Denmark, but is in the process of translating his books into English and making them available via Amazon in the US. If you like deliciously creepy horror stories that make your heart race and leave you with an eerie feeling that lasts for days, check him out!
Mange tak for bogen, Nick! 🙂 Huge thanks to Nick Clausen for sending me a copy of They Come At Night to read and review.