Crawl by Edward Lorn

Crawl - Edward Lorn

*No spoilers.


A chill molested her guts.


This was the moment when I really started to worry. Although that sentence was what first gave me a real actual WTF Pause, there were definitely earlier warning signs that this wasn't going to go well for me. I just chose to ignore them in the hopes that the rest of the story would blow me away. It didn't. I'm gonna try to keep this as cohesive as I wish this story was, but it's gonna be hard.

The entire first quarter of the story is dedicated to the bickering of a couple going through a really rough patch in their relationship. Right off the bat we learn that Dude gave the D to some other woman and Chick caught him. Now Chick is super mad and bitter and Dude spends all his time kissing her ass. Chick's not having it, though, and she's basically just letting him grovel at her feet non-stop in between the barbs and insults she's throwing at him. That’s fun.

I was just reading along and not minding the arguments too much, despite them being slightly exaggerated, but then I realized that I'd been reading these exchanges for a long-ass time. Then reading the arguments became a chore. I understand wanting to set up the backstory of your characters, but to dedicate the first 25% of a horror story to straight relationship drama is too much. It was petty argument after petty argument followed by groveling and random dramatic outbursts. What’s worse is that their issues have no bearing on the rest of the story AT ALL. The large focus on their relationship drama was pointless on all counts. Wtf. That’s cray cray to me, but the cray cray did not end there. Little did I know that the cray cray hadn’t even started, yet.

Thankfully, the drama tapered a bit at around the 25% mark. That's when that chill molested her gut. —_— I figured the story would buckle down then and the horror would start. It did, kinda, but it was pretty laughable. Don't get me wrong, there's potential there, as it's definitely an original idea, but it's not a very cohesive story. There was too much "extra" and a lot of it didn't make sense. I even got the impression of words being thrown in randomly to try and convey a feeling of horror or dread, but instead, it made the prose come off as amateurish. Case in point:

His coal-colored eyes couldn't actually be black… Could they? No.

Just a deep (hell-deep?) brown.

Crawl by Edward Lorn

What the fuck is hell-deep brown? What's that even supposed to mean? Is that supposed to instill some sense of foreboding into me or something? The notion that his eyes are not just brown, but a specific hue of brown found only in hell is really dumb. Like, really dumb. If I had to guess, I would say that most of hell is covered in blue, because it burns really fucking hot, supposedly. Am I being facetious? Yes, but let's face it. That's really dumb. Hell-deep brown eyes? Right.

At this point, I was like WHOA, this writing style is SO not my thing, but this was short enough that I kept going. Plus, I really hoped it would be a case of a strong plot with a good execution making up for the bad writing. I was ready for some horror. I was ready for some action. Instead, there was this weird scene that I later realized had nothing to do with the story as a whole. It, too, was tossed in willy-nilly just like the weird words. Maybe this scene was supposed to creep me out? It didn't and it had nothing to do with anything. The Chick had an incident with a weird character that was so left field and was obviously supposed to come off as creepy. We never heard from this character again. The entire exchange was completely pointless and unrelated to the central plot. Why the fuck did that even happen, then? The only purpose it seemed to serve was to show just how erratic and nonsensical the MC was. And she was really erratic and nonsensical. We'll get to that in a short minute.


Let me toss some things out there:

- Why is she so creeped out by someone talking to her in the bathroom? I understand being annoyed by it, but how is that scary? Was it supposed to scare me? Was it supposed to scare anyone? And if it isn't supposed to scare anyone, why was she reacting so erratically and fearfully? What was the point of that entire exchange? There was no point. That's the answer. It read like it was just tossed in with the hopes of trying to add some dread to the story. It doesn't work.

- When she sees the red priest at the diner, why on earth would she mutter "Jesus Saves" to him? He's a complete stranger who just happens to be walking by her. There is no logical explanation for this. It can't even be said that she suspected him of being the driver of the weird car with the "Jesus Saves" license plate. Shortly after, she doesn't even make the connection between the red priest's response of "But I do not" and the creepy car. She actually questions herself, wondering if it could really be him? How could he not be the driver? How stupid do you have to be for someone to literally say the words to you and for you to not be able to put two and two together? Nonsensical, this woman.

(show spoiler)

By then, I was running to read reviews. What was I reading? What was happening here? The reviews were pretty decent, save for one. So I stuck with it. I hoped against all hope that the second half was going to absolutely make up for the first. It didn't.

At around 44%, the action finally, really started. Things got really heavy really quickly. Unfortunately, it still didn't make any sense. Something extremely traumatic happens and the female MC's response is so unbelievably bizarre and detached. She goes off on mental tangents that have nothing to do with anything that's happening in front of her. I know people can be "not in their right mind" after traumatic events, but she was kinda just like she was in the first half. Nonsensical and erratic. She had reacted so strongly to mild things earlier in the book, that her muted reactions to very WTF happenings was just bizarre. There was also an attempt at humor with her inner ramblings and it just didn't work.

Additionally, there's yet another character that is never heard from again and it was jarring, because it's a part of the story you'd want to know about. It wasn't just some randomly tossed-in character, so WTF again. I can't even tell you anything more. I won't be able to skirt around it without completely spoiling you, so I have to stop. Suffice to say, that what I thought was bizarre in the first half of the story went completely berserk in the second. How this is not marked as Bizarro Horror is beyond me. That in and of itself wouldn't be an issue. I wouldn't have a problem if this was just Bizarro Horror. I could be totally into that. It's the fact that it's Bizarro Horror written badly.

I mean, the Big Bad literally says ""Boogedy... boogedy boo!" repeatedly and NOT IN JEST. I can't even.

Lastly, don't expect a a satisfying ending. There was nothing terrible about the ending, but it was just very lackluster. It definitely went out with a fizzle instead of with a bang.

Clearly, I did not enjoy this story. Do I think that you're going to enjoy this story? Possibly. If you look at all the reviews, they're mostly positive. Two of my friends really enjoyed this one. It looks like I'm the first person to really "hate" it, but we all look for different things in what we read. Maybe this story is just your thing. Or maybe you should fucking save yourself.

Side note: Let's hope that chill was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Badum tss.