- They Come At Night.
- Nick Clausen.
- 101 pages.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Four teenagers. A cottage by the beach. A scary secret kept by the locals.
And those who come at night …
They Come At Night starts with a letter from an unnamed husband addressing the loss of his wife, Elvina. The lost love that he has mourned for exactly a year since she was taken from him by creatures from the sea.
A group of teenagers, Jayden, Sienna, Richard, Max and Spike (the dog) are spending the weekend, without permission and in the off-season at Richard’s parent’s beach cottage. Not long after arriving at the cottage they venture out, walking along the beach, one of the group, Sienna accidentally treads on something sharp, a strangely shaped skeleton which none of them can identify.
On their return from the beach, the group disrupt Chris, a local child attempting to hammer an anchor above their door. Chris catches sight of the group and runs away.
Thinking that it is just the weird behaviour of the locals they put the incident behind them. After all, they are at the cottage to have fun, get drunk, watch scary movies, generally just chilling out and let off some steam. Just teenage kids doing teenage things away from the watchful gaze of their parents.
Unbeknownst to the group of teenagers, the local area harbours a dark and deadly secret and they choose the wrong time to visit. In the daylight hours, everything is normal but at night strange things start happening around the cottage. Scratching noises in the night, knocking on the door, deep gouges in the door, eerie figures glimpsed walking past windows and footprints in the sand leading from the sea, only appearing in the wet sand up to the point where the water has reached and only on the seafront side of the cottage.
As the weekend draws to a close, a storm rolls in, their car won’t start and the group are unable to leave the cottage. They each have no phone signal and as the tide begins to rise, getting ever closer to the cottage the group find themselves at the mercy of what is happening in the area, at the mercy of the creatures from the sea…will any survive?
Clausen does a good job of building up the suspense and the tension in the story. From the teenagers disbelieving that anything is wrong to the realisation that they are in serious danger.
It takes a long time for Clausen to play his hand and show us what the creatures look like. But, it is worth the wait as the creatures (they reminded me of a more baleful and menacing version of Mer-Man from He-Man) are creepy and well described with their actions coordinated and bloodthirsty.
The group of teenagers are all likeable enough and there was no over the top angst or teenage drama from them that made me eye-roll during the book. While there’s not the greatest depth to them (it’s a novella after all) there’s enough to give you a feel for them and their different personalities.
The opening to They Come At Night sets a foreboding and ominous tone for what will follow, it hooked me straight away and made me eager to read the rest of the novella. I felt like I got a complete story from the short page-count, the story is easy to read, page-turning and flows well (as does the writing). There’s a good sense of atmosphere, particularly when the storm comes in on the final night as the story builds to its climax and the creatures are suitably sinister.
There are quite a few clichés along the way in They Come At Night but they are easy to excuse as it is a such a terrific dose of highly entertaining B-movie horror fun in the form of a novella.
They Come At Night, like Human Flesh which is also written by Clausen is a delightfully dark way to spend an hour and get a quick horror fix.
Purchase They Come At Night.
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