- Pages: 59
- Publisher: Unnerving
- Published: June 27, 2019
Renee Miller is one of my favorite indie horror authors. Her writing is top-notch. With every new publication, she pushes the envelope. Miller isn’t afraid to go into dark and weird places. Some of her stories will make you feel down right uncomfortable, but that’s what I love about her stories. She takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you in the middle of some bizarre and eerie situations with her characters. Howl is no different.
Three friends are heading to a conference, but the GPS is messed up and they’re stuck on an old dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Miller delivers the laughs with this line, “We’re in God’s asshole, where technology doesn’t give a fuck.” The playful banter between the three friends makes them feel real. It feels like you get to know them on another level and you are part of their crowd or whatever, which is cool. However, the three friends run into trouble. There hasn’t been a gas station for miles, and they are low on gas. In fact, their vehicle runs out of gas. They’re stranded out in the middle of nowhere. No cell phone service. No signs of civilization anywhere. They get the smart idea to start walking through the woods, thinking the highway is a few miles that way. That’s when the story really takes off.
While walking through the woods, something attacks one of the guys. The other two run for their lives through the woods and into an old cabin. The old man and young woman who are occupying the cabin let them inside. Turns out, all four of them sought refuge in the cabin, while running away from furry creatures in the woods. And to top it off, it’s snowing steadily. This is when you get a sense of just how vast the forest is and just how small the cabin really is.
Food supply is running low. It won’t last long with four people. The cabin fever begins. The isolation feeling creeps in. What do you do when the food runs out and it’s only a matter of time before you can make a run for it or wait for the creatures to find away inside the cabin? You’ll have to read it to find out. Oh, how the blood and guts fill the pages. This creature feature is splashed with a gut-churning splatterpunk scene that will gross you out in the best way. There is also some cannibalism that I think you will enjoy. It’s all in the name of survival. The inner monologue is hilarious. The dialogue is good. Renee Miller writes pulse-pounding prose that will keep you on the edge of your seat, hoping she doesn’t kill off your favorite characters. Miller isn’t afraid to kill her darlings, as she’s shown time and time again.
Howl reads quick, coming in at only fifty-nine pages. It reads more like 12 pages, though. I read this one in about thirty minutes. Once you start, you’ll want to devour this story whole. And you are going to dig that ending, too. There’s just so much to unpack and think about. I didn’t see it coming. I’m hoping there will be a sequel sooner rather than later. I think there’s more to that little cabin and the woods than meets the eye. I would like for Renee Miller to expand on this world she has created. Overall, I enjoyed reading Howl, but I may have gotten a touch of cabin fever. I kid, but I do have a scratch on my arm. I’m keeping an eye on it to see if anything comes of it. If you haven’t read Renee Miller’s work, Howl is a great starting point. Up next, is Miller’s Stranded. I’ve heard great things about the novella.
Three friends, an empty fuel tank, a desolate dirt road, and a hike through the woods in the middle of a snow storm; what could go wrong?
A mysterious beast stalks Fred and his friends through the snow, forcing them to seek shelter with two strangers in a remote cabin.
And so begins a waiting game. Food dwindles, tempers flare, and survival of the fittest becomes more than just a saying as the beast closes in.