Castle by the Sea by JG Faherty

CASTLE
Castle by the Sea by JG Faherty
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (90 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

How did they get here? Will they ever get out?

Jason and Erika are having a wonderful time at the Halloween carnival…until their swan boat in the Tunnel of Love capsizes amid heavy waves and blaring, maniacal laughter. When they come to they are no longer in a carnival in Ohio, but standing at the edge of a sea in a raging storm. In the distance, atop a high, barren hill, looms an enormous castle.

Instead of answers, Jason and Erika find only more impossibilities within the stone walls. The lavish rooms are lit only by torches and fireplaces, the decorations and furniture are a century out of date, and the mysterious host claims to not own one of those newfangled telephone inventions. Outside, in the storm and the dense mist, lurk strange, threatening figures. Inside, another couple seeking refuge think it must all be a nightmare. Perhaps it is. Or perhaps it’s something much, much worse.

All Erika and Jason wanted was to eat sugary carnival food and steal kisses from each other in the Tunnel of Love. Unfortunately not every date necessarily goes as planned.

The fast-paced plot begins immediately in this story with a series of inexplicable events. It was interesting to meet the main characters and almost immediately see them plunged into such dangerous circumstances. My curiosity about what would happen to them next only grew deeper as their predicament became even more dire.

I would have liked to learn more about Jason and Erika’s personalities. So much time was spent describing what happened to them that I never really got to know them as individuals. It would have been helpful to see them express their strengths and weaknesses, especially when the plot takes sharp turns and plops them into situations they could have never anticipated. There were many opportunities to showcase their unique perspectives that weren’t taken advantage of during the course of this tale.

The descriptive passages in this novella painted crystal clear images in my mind of what the castle looks like. All of the senses are included in the descriptions, which makes certain scenes even more horrifying than they might have been otherwise. I was impressed with how quickly Mr. Faherty introduced creepy new settings to the audience without slowing down the plot at all. This was my first introduction to his work, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

Castle by the Sea is a good choice for anyone in the mood for an old-fashioned fright fest. There are plenty of terrifying things hidden among these pages!

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