Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
Gallery/Scout Press: 6/14/16
eBook review copy; 224 pages
ISBN-13: 9781501126925

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid is a recommended, creepy psychological horror novel - for the right reader it could be rated even higher.

A girlfriend, yes, we never learn a name, is traveling with her boyfriend, Jake, to meet his parents at their home for dinner. They live hours away on a farm in the country. Girlfriend is seriously thinking of ending things with Jake - they just aren't clicking - but she hasn't said anything to him. Why she agreed to go have dinner with his parents is a conundrum. Girlfriend may have problems with confidence and asserting herself.

Girlfriend hasn't said a thing to Jake about the phone calls she's been getting. Her phone says they are from her own number. It's always the same. Some guy she calls the Caller leaves messages and tells her that "There's only one thing we need to resolve." She should have told someone after the first few calls, but now it's been going on for too long.

Anyway, the ride up is increasingly uncomfortable as Girlfriend tries to get Jake to chat during the car ride. He's smart, a scientist, and more a philosopher than someone who easily makes idle conversation. Once they are at the farm, the parents are awkward and weird and the atmosphere in the farm house is unsettling and vaguely menacing. Jake is acting more remote and even a tad disturbing at times. Girlfriend is anxious to get home and is glad when they leave, in a snowstorm. Things get even more ominous.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things reads like a bad dream. Girlfriend may not be the most reliable narrator. Adding to the tension are fragments of conversation found in-between the main narrative where we know something awful has happened.

This is a well written credible debut novel that has been given great reviews by others, and for good reason. Reid is a good writer. He establishes the ominous atmosphere immediately. The tension escalates with each page. There were a few drawbacks for me that might not bother other readers, like the rather abrupt ending. Admittedly, I also had a good idea about what was happening pretty early on. It is a short book, though, so if you enjoy psychological horror, it might be worth your time.

Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.

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