The Creek marks newcomer Rayne King’s first foray into indie horror and it is certainly a promising start from someone who hopefully has a lot more stories to come.
The Creek is a coming-of-age novella about Wiley, a seventeen-year-old boy living with his single father in Hudson Valley. A chance encounter with Ruby, a newcomer to the community who has just moved with her parents and sizeable congregation of religious followers, led by her father and the mysterious Eleanor, leads to perhaps the greatest summer of his life.
As Wiley becomes more enamoured by Ruby and finds favor with the cult that she is a part of, Ruby’s apprehension with the life she is living begins to become more apparent. As things at the site begin to take a darker turn, Wiley must decide whether he wants to stay with his newfound love or attempt an escape before it is too late.
King doesn’t break the mold with The Creek. It is a familiar story with few surprises along the way. The joy in this book is in the telling. King is an exceptional writer, with a joyful and poetic prose style. When the book opens, we’re treated to beautiful descriptions of the story’s picturesque setting and it was so effective at setting the scene and drawing the reader in. The Creek is positively brimming with atmosphere and this pays dividends when the story starts to get a little more sinister toward the end.
It is a slow burn story, with a great deal of time spent world-building and setting the scene, giving us ample time to spend with the two young leads. When things start to take a more sinister turn at the midway point, it starts with subtle nods and odd lines that warn of darker things to come. While the ending is unlikely to surprise anybody, it’s hard to feel too let down when the journey getting there is so well done.
The titular novella is followed up by a short story (“Husk”) which King calls a “misadventure horror story”. The description is very apt and I enjoyed this one a great deal. More overtly scary than The Creek and with a much more unique premise, it was a nice addition to an already strong book and, like the longer story that precedes it, works well thanks in part to a pair of strong, likeable characters who feel very genuine and well rounded.
The Creek is a lyrically beautiful novella, expertly carving out a slice of quiet coming-of-age horror with a story of a first love weathering the most unusual of circumstance. It is a very accomplished story for such a new writer and certainly sets a high bar for what comes next.
The Creek by Rayne King
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Two teenagers find kindred spirits in each other when fate brings them together. However, Wiley soon discovers a darkness that Ruby harbors, a sadness that he becomes determined to extinguish. But is it already too late?
DescriptionTwo teenagers find kindred spirits in each other when fate brings them together. Wiley’s simple life is uprooted when the enigmatic Ruby moves in to the old campground nearby. The two of them are drawn to each other instantly. However, Wiley soon discovers a darkness that Ruby harbors, a sadness that he becomes determined to extinguish. But is it already too late? Also included is the short story “Husk”: Two friends get their hands on a treasure map and decide to locate the cache of possible riches. But they’ll soon learn that some things are better left buried.