This is a book that plays directly to the emotional experiences of the reader. It’s extremely hard not to find resonance in a book that depicts events and emotions the reader has, themselves, experienced. This is simply the tale of a relationship between a father and a son. The father is flawed but remains well-meaning in his love for his son. It’s a classic theme, one that many of us have lived through, judging by the reviews I skimmed. And it’s great horror because this is a horror we recognize.

Now to be fair, my own upbringing was from a father that had witnessed (and rebelled against) violence at home. My father was (and still remains) the total opposite. A bear of a man who had done a stint in the army to better control and understand his own strength, my father’s relationship to his kids and his wife was always loving. I don’t remember him ever even shouting at my mum, but he had his own personal hang-ups. He did and said some of the things written in this book, the ties to what a “man” had to be and how a “man” should act were ingrained deep in him from his own childhood, I believe. So, this story – let’s just say there’s a lot of integral themes in the shorts that struck a chord in this reader. 

It’s beautifully observed psychological drama. I can’t say this is horror, it’s a father/son relationship story, but it plays wonderfully to the horror crowd, there are a lot of things in here that play to the open-minded horror reader – and leave you in no doubt that what you just read will stay with you for a long time. 

The ramp-up of detail in the last few chapters leave you in no doubt that something terrible will occur, and the play of it is well-executed, the last father pov chapter exceptional. And leaves us all in no doubt that at least this father, in his own, warped, maladjusted, narrow-minded way, loved his son. And that’s just heartbreaking. 

Ross’ writing just keeps getting stronger, the observational-emotional content of this book knocks everything out of the park.

Austrian Spencer

Austrian Spencer


Austrian Spencer does not watch horror films, though enjoys horror books.  His influences include Alan Moore, Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, The family King, Iain M.Banks, from whom he wishes to learn. Be inspired. He owes them everything, despite their beards. The Sadeiest is Austrian’s debut novel. 

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