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(Harrow Faire – Book 1)
by Kathryn Ann Kingsley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Horror(ish), PNR, M/F
Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited
Down & Dirty
This is both twisted and beautiful – an invitation to a Vincent Price’esque Carnival filled with talented freaks and the fools who venture there. Well written and just a bit chilling, it’s not quite horror, but it almost gets there. Free on Kindle Unlimited.
What is it about?
(Blurbs from GoodReads)
Come one, come all, to Harrow Faire…and greet your sweetest nightmare.
Cora Glass’s humdrum existence as a bank teller flips upside down when a long-abandoned circus mysteriously returns to life. But the entry fee to this big top show is far more than Cora bargained for.
A deal struck.
As Harrow Faire shines a spotlight on Cora, she discovers there are far more secrets in that three-ring nightmare than she could possibly imagine. Trapped in the world of the fiendish and alluring man known as the Puppeteer, Cora finds herself caught in a war between him and the reclusive Mr. Harrow. Both parties will stop at nothing—even murder—to get what they want.
And what they want…is her.
My Thoughts on The Contortionist
The ole’ faire of memory and tall tales live on in the TV we watch and the stories we share; barkers and clowns, hall of mirrors, and grand illusions. It’s captivating, a bit stark, and just edged with terror – and so is this book. Fully capturing that 20’s or 30’s feel, it’s a circus, a carnival, and a nightmare all rolled into one, and it’s delightfully done.
Told mostly through Cora’s eyes, we are, fortunately, able to take a step back and add a layer between the reader and her eyes, as the view is third-person. It’s not much, but there is a small comfort in viewing the ghastly with the small buffer of ‘her’ instead of ‘I’. We do, however, get the occasional gifted view from Simon, adding macabre to the world that is quickly being built in this captivating tale.
Well written, chilling, and oddly sweet in places, this is the start of a grand adventure that truly inspires the notion, “something wicked this way comes….”
Third Person, Multiple POV
R, due to sexual situations, violence, and language.
Slow-Build and Slow-Burn – plenty of temptation and a seductive sort of darkness.
Character Age Range:
My Final Verdict on The Contortionist
The Contortionist continues Kathryn Ann Kingsley‘s dark literary journey, dancing with the grotesque while somehow seducing with the same, shadowy, ambiance. This is not a ‘smack you in the face’ horror, rather, it is a subtle (at times) psychological ride that blankets both the narrative and the reader. It’s romantic yet repugnant – asking Cora to understand herself even as the plot invites us to understand ourselves as well. Am I looking too deep into that? Perhaps. But it really did make me question WHY I liked certain things…. which, I suppose, is kinda the point. Free on Kindle Unlimited.
Published September 15th, 2020
If you enjoyed this review of The Contortionist, please be sure to check out a few of my other articles.
- Magic Forged by K.M. Shea – A Book Review
- Between Jobs by W.R. Gingell – A Book Review
- Taken by Katerina Martinez – A Book Review
What are you reading today? Have you read this book yet? What other books by Kathryn Ann Kingsley have you enjoyed? Leave a comment, I would love to talk!