Genre: Gothic Horror
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Tor Books (May 30, 2017)
Length: 288 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
A man with no memories. A creepy house. Family secrets. Haunting spirits. All of it set in a crumbling section of the southern city of Jacksonville, Florida. And if this sounds like Southern Gothic to you, then you are absolutely right, because Kit Reed has perfectly set up just that type of haunting story, one which will make you huddle down deeper under the covers and desperately try not to jump at every shadow in your own bedroom.
It all starts with Dell. This drifter having no memory of who he is, where he comes from, or even his own name. Dell merely a moniker he picked for himself. But when he gets his clothes from the hospital, he finds an index card with an unfamiliar address upon it, as well as a flash drive.
Certain the address will somehow spark his memories Dell shows up at a crumbling mansion in a section of Jacksonville which was once an affluent area, but is now well on its way to oblivion. Sneaking in, Dell is quickly discovered by one of the residents: teenager Theo. This young man making friends with our lost drifter and helping him set up camp in the home.
As he quickly gets acclimated to his new home, Dell finds out that a trio of evil Aunts run this household. Ivy, Iris, and Rosemary the matriarchs of the family with Theo and his mother Lane mere temporary visitors, who have taken refuge here after being abandoned by Theo’s father. But no matter the length of their residence, all of these people are caught up in the evil which has befallen generations of their family. The signs pointing to the house (or some evil within it) being the cause!
Told through multiple points of view (Dell, Theo, Ivy, and Lane to name the main ones), Mormama is a short book which actually takes a while to fully develop. The narrative spending a great deal of time creating the mood, developing the environment, and introducing characters. This allows Kit Reed to fully flesh out everyone (Each person endowed with their own unique personality, quirks, and desires.), but it certainly slows down the pacing of the narrative and did result in a bit of information repetition. However, for me personally, I felt the negatives of the multiple POVs was more than made up for with the well developed characters, because, as I always say, characters are what make or break a book, and with Mormama I found several to keep me turning the pages.
Even with characters I could empathize with and care about, this novel did misstep a bit with the plot itself. The premise of this creepy tale was wonderful, captured my imagination, and made me want to see where it all led, but along the way from beginning to end, the true horrific potential of Mormama never really materialized. Sure, it had its moments, but I was left wishing it had been better. Better resolution of plots. Better ultimate explanations. Better conclusion. None of these things were bad. Rather I just wished they had lived up to their full potential.
All in all, Mormama was an entertaining read that did an amazing job capturing the true atmosphere of Southern Gothic, gifted readers with fully developed and compelling characters, and kept the haunting chills coming until the end. No, it didn’t fully realize my lofty expectations, but then again, few books ever do. So I’d encourage others to take a long look this novel by Kit Reed, because it might be exactly the story you need to read.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.