June 11, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

blankyBlanky by Kealan Patrick Burke


The start of this novella is fantastic. It captures the grief of the main character, Steve, who has recently lost his 11-month-old daughter to SIDS, and whose wife has left him to come to terms with her own grief. We see his own struggle to return to some semblance of life, alone, without support. It’s heart-breaking. This is only the start of the horror, though, which involves the return of Blanky, the blanket that may have caused his daughter’s death, and that he presumed was buried with his daughter.

To say more would spoil it, but rest assured the story is vivid, atmospheric, creepy, and truly disturbing. Burke’s imagery is effective and horrific, but it’s the situation Steve finds himself in — and how it affects his tenuous sanity — that lingers. He captures emotion well in this story, and that alone is enough to recommend it to fans of horror.

I’m not as sold on the ending, though. It’s intended to be ambiguous (the final chapter is supposed to leave the reader wondering which version of this story is actually true), but it’s more Life of Pi, less “The Lottery” in how Burke sells it to the reader. As it is, the ending feels like a cop-out, like he’s pulling the rug out from under us. There aren’t any hints left in the story for us to contemplate, save for the final one which suggests Steve’s version of events is the real one.

Regardless, Burke is a writer to read. His storytelling skills shine, and the way he can build up a scene and its dread is something I haven’t seen in a while. Readers of horror would probably like it best, but anyone who wants to see talent would do well to read Blanky.

Started: April 26, 2018
Finished: April 26, 2018

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