A funny thing happened at the airport on the way home from the World Horror Convention. I ended up stranded in Atlanta, then Toronto, with a wonderful writer named Chris Marrs. I got to know her as a person, not just a writer, and I’m very happy I did. She gave me a copy of her novella, EVERYTHING LEADS BACK TO ALICE, published by Bad Moon Books.
ALICE is a Gothic, character-driven story that blends psychological horror with a classic ghost story. Twenty years after Alice, his first love, disappears, Mike Connors returns home to Fallen’s Island. Mike’s a nice guy with a heavy load–he’s been searching for Alice all that time and hasn’t been able to plant roots or otherwise truly live his life. He also has a drinking problem, though the drinking serves a purpose: It allows him to communicate with visions of Alice, who tells him to go home.
Has Mike fallen into madness, or are his visions real? Are his visions of Alice telling him to clean himself up and live his life, or find her? Is Alice the angel Mike remembers, or the monster his oldest friends describe her as? All questions are answered, but Chris did a great job keeping me guessing right to the end. These mysteries drive the story in a slow burn narrative that slowly notches up the darkness.
If you’re up for a short, classic ghost story with a satisfyingly dark ending, check it out.