Book Review – The Window in the Ground by Steve Stred

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Over the years on this planet I’ve learnt a few things about life. Snow is cold, water’s wet, baby poo stinks even when it emerges from the butt of your own kid, and Steve Stred knows how to creep you out with words!

This latest offering was one I was obviously going to be checking out sooner rather than later. Admittedly, the title didn’t put me on edge straight away. Aww, a pretty, decretive window in the ground; sounds lovely does it not? But I found the more this novella got its stained-glass teeth into my soul, the scarier the whole idea became.

The aforementioned ground window has been something of a local legend for hundreds of years. Those living in the quiet town are only permitted to learn of this thing when they reach 18 years of age. Before then, well, would they be able to cope with it?

The story is narrated by an unnamed character who tells of his tragic experiences with this bloody window. (NB this unnamed thing was not something I picked up originally and while writing this review I flicked through the story again to look for his name but couldn’t find it anywhere. This is just one way the tale completely sucked me in; not once did I question who in the hell was telling me all this. Awesomeness without me even realising it!)

Anyway, this kid, at 15, is shown the window by his grandfather in the hope that it ‘makes him a man’. Unfortunately things don’t quite work out how Gramps had planned.

The woods in which this window lives is almost a character in itself, as though the titular thing is guarded by the trees. At least that was the impression I got from the disconcerting descriptions on offer. There is a sign on the way to the window with a set of rules to obey. Basically don’t look inside, don’t go there alone, or even approach it as it’s gonna mess you right up.

The thing is, though, this window puts some kind of mystical spell on our protagonist and some unseen power forces him to act in ways the rules clearly state are not a good idea.

Once back home from his ordeal with Gramps, although he was not permitted to look inside the window, he needs to tell his best friend all about it. The two end up at the window and things go from bad to worse, to horrifying.

As this is a shortish tale I don’t want to say too much more. But if folklore horror is your thing then this should be right up there on your TBR pile!

The Stred has done it again, although that seems to be the way things are in this world!



Categories: book review

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1 reply

  1. How bold to write a story with an unnamed narrator. Cool!

    Liked by 1 person

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