Reaper: A Horror Novella by Jonathan Pongratz

Reaper: A Horror Novella by Jonathan Pongratz
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Holiday, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (96 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Gregory and his little sister Imogen love spending Halloween with their parents. But this year is different. If he proves he can take care of Imogen all by himself, he’ll finally have the allowance he’s dreamed of.

That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement and Imogen was taken from him by the monster.
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Now everyone in town is blaming him for her disappearance, but no one is listening to his story. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? And most of all, can he find his sister before it’s too late, or will he bury his memories of her along with his parents?

Parents are supposed to protect their children. After a young girl disappeared, the question of where she went and what happened to her was impossible to ignore.

Wow, this was a scary read. Gregory was someone who’d grown up with certain Halloween customs that were so ordinary to him he barely even thought to mention them to the audience. I was glad this was explained so well because it made the rest of the bizarre events Gregory experienced much more understandable. There were a couple of times when I would have run screaming from the stuff he went through. Somehow, those scenes were even scarier than they might have otherwise been because of how differently I interpreted them when compared to Gregory’s much calmer response.

There was a little bit too much foreshadowing in this tale. As someone who has a lot of experience reading this genre, I was able to figure out several of the plot twists well ahead of time. I still enjoyed reading it quite a bit, but it would have been nice to have fewer clues about what was going to happen next. I would have given it a perfect rating if this had been the case.

The ending was fantastic. It answered all of my most important questions but still left me wishing there was more to it. I liked the fact that it left space for a sequel while still feeling like a satisfactory conclusion if Mr. Pongratz decides to leave this universe as is. This is exactly how open-ended stories should be written!

If you love Halloween and all things creepy, I’d definitely recommend giving Reaper: A Horror Novella a try.

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