I’m a little late to the game, having just recently read John Quick’s debut novel, Consequences. Many people in the horror community are already aware of John’s skillful use of language, his knack for characterization, and his cruel dedication to putting his readers through an emotional grinder. If you’re not one of them, you need this book.
High school has come to an end for a small group of friends, and they look forward with anxious hope toward their respective futures, while trying to savor this last summer they have together. The stories of what Crazy Freddy did to his family years ago are true, but the rumor that his spirit may still haunt his old house is just that, a rumor. Right?
Either way, the rumor does nothing to deter our group of friends as they hold a graduation party on the purportedly cursed property. That tragic night becomes the catalyst for a string of gruesome murders that begin to whittle away at our group, until only a frightened few are left to face the evil legend head on. Is their fierce love for one another, and their will to live and see those bright futures enough to keep them from falling under Crazy Freddy’s knife?
Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to admit, I pick up a book hoping it’s not good. As a writer, this makes me feel better about myself. Sometimes, I pick up a book because I know it will inspire me to write better. I’ll look at my own work with a more critical eye. I began reading Consequences, hoping it wasn’t good. Not because I wish John Quick anything other than a successful and thriving literary career—because I think that’s what’s coming and it is well-deserved—but because I wanted to feel better about my own writing.
What I found was that Consequences was one of those books that inspired me to write better. From the eloquence of Quick’s prose and the lush characters he has created to the gut-wrenching scenes of violence, every aspect of this book is enviable to any writer and just what any horror reader wants to curl up with.
One of the things that stands out most for me is Quick’s characters. It’s so easy to use the word “pulp” as an excuse to write flat characters. But Quick has carefully cultivated his characters and made them real people. The death scenes are brutal, but that’s not what made them so hard to read: it was that I loved the characters. I remembered that feeling of uncertainty about the future following high school, and I was on board with this group, rooting for them. As people began to die, I felt real pangs of hurt at seeing them go. I sighed. I set the book down at points and felt loss. That’s storytelling.
Whether you are a fan of hardcore horror or a more atmospheric approach, there is something for you here. I look forward to reading Quick’s upcoming works.