Book review: The Worst is Yet to Come by S.P. Miskowski

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

AUTHOR INFO: S.P. Miskowski has received two National Endowments for the Arts Fellowships. Her second novel, I Wish I Was Like You, was named This Is Horror Novel of the Year for 2017 and received a Charles Dexter Award (Favorite Novel of 2017) from Strange Aeons Magazine. Her books have received three Shirley Jackson Award nominations and two Bram Stoker Award nominations, and are available from Omnium Gatherum and JournalStone/ Trepidatio.

Publication Date: February 22, 2019 Publisher: Trepidatio Publishing, an imprint of JournalStone Print Length: 208 pages Cover art by Mikio Murakami.

OVERVIEW: All families have secrets. Some innocent, some deadly. The Worst is Yet to Come, set in a ghost-haunted Skillute, digs into the age-old theme of secrets from the past haunting those who try to keep them buried. 

It begins with two girls forming a strong bond. Tasha comes from a reasonably wealthy family, while Briar comes from a broken home; she lives with her mother and "stepfather" in a trailer. Tasha's parents moved to Skillute to distance themselves from the past. Mistake. Skillute is not the place you want to raise a family, trust me. On the surface, it's a nice little town. Dig deeper, though, and cracks start to show. Ghosts, witches, malevolent beings, broken families. 

I won't give you a synopsis because it would spoil the story. You just need to know that this book is unputdownable. Short, quick to read, with the plot altering between psychological and supernatural thriller. Yes, there's something monstrous in Skillute, but aren't people's misdeeds equally monstrous?

The story is gorgeously penned and unsettling, concise and visceral. There are no wasted scenes here, no unnecessary filler, or tedious world-building. Miskowski's use of omniscient narration should serve as an example of how to do it smoothly and to great effect. With its colorful, instantly memorable characters, and terrifying, inhuman creatures, it will appeal to fans of horror and supernatural thrillers.

With its open ending and many unanswered questions, it won't appeal to everyone. I like open endings because, when done well, they tend to linger in my mind. This one certainly did. However, if that's not your thing, be warned. You will not get all the answers. 

CONCLUSION: While The Worst is Yet to Come is standalone, Miskowski has more books and stories set in Skillute. I am definitely interested in digging deeper into this town's corrupted soil.

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