Rebecca is afraid of the dark and hates being alone, but that is how she finds herself in the beginning of Jeff Strand’s new novella Faint of Heart. When her husband Gary takes off on a camping trip in the Alaskan wilderness with some buddies, it leaves Rebecca all by her lonesome to deal with her fears. She is coping fine until a policeman comes to her door and tells her Gary is in trouble and needs her now.
The novella shifts from her feelings of being alone into what I thought was a great homage to the late great Richard Laymon. Rebecca becomes a pawn in a game that stretches out into the Alaskan countryside trying to save the life of her husband. She must follow Alan and Stephen’s directions to the letter, she must not call the police, and she must survive the game. If she wins, she can save her husband and herself. If she loses, well there is only one other alternative.
The book reads really quick and reminded me pace and style-wise of his novel Pressure (which is my favorite book of Jeff’s). The situation is like a Laymon novel with Jeff’s wit sprinkled in and it works well (I’m curious if anyone else felt the same way?). The humor is not over-the-top like the Andrew Mayhem series, but he throws in enough one-liners and witty thoughts from the cast to keep the chuckles coming in all the most intense places. The tension in the book is also very tight. The pacing worked well with the length and I don’t think it would have worked as well if it were a full novel.
Overall, Jeff’s work gets better with every new release and this is no exception. Give yourself a treat and go pick it up for the Kindle now.
5 out of 5 tombstones!