"Come Closer" Book Review

Written by Gabino Iglesias

Published by SOHO Press

Written by Sara Gran
2003, 168 pages pages, Fiction
Released on May 31st, 2011


Sometimes horror in a novel takes the shape of desperation. When that desperation transfers unadulterated into the mind of the reader, you have is a story perfectly capable of altering cardiac rhythm. Such is the case with Sara Gran's Come Closer.

The story starts off like many other creepy tales: people begin to hear strange tapping noises in their home that they can't successfully pinpoint. In this case, the people hearing the mysterious knocks are Amanda and Ed, a married couple. After the sounds initiate, Amanda starts to have weird dreams in which a beautiful woman talks to her while on a beach bathed by a red ocean. Soon after the dreams start, Amanda's life slowly begins to change. Her concentration is not what it used to and she has bizarre impulses that are totally unlike her. Before long, Amanda is losing track of time, physically hurting people, scaring animals and acting like an entirely different person with her husband and at work. As her life begins to collapse, Amanda is forced to face the fact that there might be something wrong with her that goes above and beyond psychology. Although she tries to get help a few times while still thinking the whole thing is ridiculous, she remains trapped inside her own denial. By the time she decides to finally look for help, everyone seems to be in cahoots with Naamah, the woman in her dreams whose voice she now hears inside her head and sometimes out of her own mouth. With no one to turn to and feeling like a prisoner in her own body, Amanda can only watch in despair as her life twists into something very, very dark and her chances of escaping become inexistent.

Come Closer is as fast-paced as psychological horror gets and Gran writes with an effective and unpretentious prose that delivers the story like a shot of hard liquor to the brain. Although there's enough talk of demons and possession to keep fans of William Peter Blatty satisfied, Gran's novel is a scary must-read because of something else: how it conveys anxiety. Gran allows the reader to witness the destruction of a life while simultaneously showing readers how Amanda's actions and denial actually expedite the process. As Amanda's marriage, career and finances are destroyed, the reader is tempted to scream at the book just like some people scream at the screen in a movie theater when a brainless youngster runs toward danger.

Lead by Gran's almost hypnotic prose, Come Closer is a novel that explores horror as much as it does insanity. Where some writers have to rely on slobbering monsters to scare their readers, Gran can accomplish the same thing with an apparently unintentional cigarette burn, an incident with a girl on a beautiful beach or the knowing smirk of a doctor. If you like spine-chilling psychological horror, give this one a try and you won't be disappointed.



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