"The Remaking" Book Review
Written by Jennifer Turner
Published by Quirk Books
Written by Clay McLeod Chapman
2019, 320 pages, Fiction
Released on October 8th, 2019
My favorite part of writing for Horror DNA is being exposed to unfamiliar authors and stories and falling in love. And I absolutely love The Remaking, it would totally go in my top ten books of the year list if I ever get around to making one.
The plot starts in 1931 where a suspected witch named Ella Louise is murdered by fearful townspeople. Her young daughter Jessica is caught up in the crossfire and loses her life as well. The tale of these two victims gathers a life of its own evolving over the decades from campfire tale to doomed movies and a podcast.
Enter Amber, a child actress who is cast as the ill-fated Jessica in the film Don’t Tread on Jessica’s Grave, directed by Lee Ketchum. Lee believes that he is chosen to tell Jessica’s story and is obsessed with making the movie at all costs. Amber senses that something is afoot and soon suffers a life changing accident which tanks the film.
Two decades later Amber learns that the movie is getting a reboot and makes the mistake of joining the cast, which leads to another disaster. Decades later, a podcaster named Nathaniel goes out looking for Amber, who has become a recluse to the past tragedies involving the movies, in the hopes of finally getting the truth about the Little Witch Girl of Pilot’s Creek.
What I love most about this book is the pacing. There are no pointless filler scenes or random characters that don’t push the plot forward. The Remaking jumps out the gate and takes the reader on a wild and unnerving ride. I actually read this novel in one sitting.
Author Clay McLeod Chapman has a very atmospheric way of storytelling. I became so involved with the narrative that I would find myself slightly dazed when I would stop reading. It was like I was unwilling to leave that world and return to the real one.
What really sells this story is the protagonist and sometimes antagonist Amber. Amber is a flawed and often unlikable character, pretty much the definition of a train wreck. Despite my initial dislike of the character, she started to grow on me and I did find myself rooting for her towards the end.
This tale is also a love letter to horror movie enthusiasts with lots of references and mentions of some of the tropes associated with the genre. There is a very nice self-aware vibe to it all that makes reading this more fun.
After 300 pages of some pretty dark storytelling and squeamish scenes, The Remaking switches tone and delivers a very sad and bittersweet ending. I never expected a book that made me slightly uncomfortable at times would leave me a sobbing and blubbering mess at the finish.
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