by Hunter Shea
Samhain Publishing (2014)
The opening chapters of The Waiting are gut-wrenching, and in the case of a bride on her wedding day that is taken quite literally. Overcome by searing pain in her abdomen, Cassandra Pagano, collapses and is hospitalized with a seriously debilitating condition that sees her comatose and in need to long-term care as her body heals from not only the sickness, but also the surgery that saved her life.
Her new husband, Brian, dutifully watches over her when she's brought to their new home, along with his mother-in-law and a registered nurse, hoping for Cassandra's full recovery. But a spectre arrives in the house and the question becomes if it's a guardian angel or a malevolent spirit.
This creepy novella from Hunter Shea doesn't waste time, as that opening scene with Cassandra is pretty brutal. From there it just piles on the anguish and the torment, with much of the story seen through Brian's eyes as his wife incrementally deteriorates before his eyes over the weeks and months of caring for her, and alternating chapters from the mother-in-law's vantage, and even brief interlude's from Cassandra. It plays on atmosphere, paranoia, the struggle between managing the terrors at home with the mundane turmoil of life in general, and all handled quite well.
My one hangup came from not really understanding until very late in the story just what the "rules" were for the spirit. It seemed to be linked to the house, then to Cassandra, then to the house again. Moments surrounded that part of the book seemed to contradict each other at points.
Aside from that, it's a very good outing from Hunter Shea, and a reminder to me that I need to read more of his stuff.
Available at Amazon.com
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