cover image These Things Linger

These Things Linger

Dan Franklin. Cemetery Dance, $18.99 trade paper (264p) ISBN 978-1-58767-955-1

This grimy but energetic horror novel from Franklin (The Eater of Gods) follows Alex Wilson as he deals with supernatural horrors in the small town of Fair Hill, Md. Following the death of his Uncle Matty, who raised him after his parents died, Alex is unable to move on because of the falling out they had before his uncle died. Recalling an arcane ritual a friend taught him that purports to summon the dead via blood, water, and fire, Alex manages to make contact with what seems to be the mournful, decaying spirit of Uncle Matty, who appears to Alex and his wife, Raychel, and begs for absolution that they don’t know how to grant. As more otherworldly revelations come to light, the couple unearths things much worse than the ghosts of the damned, and learns that someone from Alex’s past holds secrets that might save their lives. Franklin’s gritty prose chugs along, and the story shines most when it’s leaning into the ghoulishness of its premise. Character development occasionally takes a backseat to atmosphere, and odd pacing sometimes robs the story of narrative cohesion, but Franklin pulls it all together, tying up the story’s elements in a satisfyingly nasty conclusion. Readers seeking a ghoulish ghost story should take a look. (Feb.)