How much do you remember about your childhood? Really, think about it. For many, it’s a rather uneven slideshow of sporadic events and if you think about it, it can be rather chilling to ponder on what exactly you don’t remember. What may have happened to you or someone you know that your brain isn’t allowing you to remember? And should you even try to remember? Or maybe leave well enough alone?
This is what one is facing when sitting down to read Dathan Auerbach’s Penpal. The novel actually started its life as short installments on Reddit’s NoSleep forum and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Auerbach was able to produce the expanded versions of the stories in novel form (and of course, I always love seeing independent artists succeed in their projects).
Penpal tells the story of a man exploring seemingly unrelated events of his childhood. As he relives the memories, it becomes evident that they are all pieces to a puzzle. A puzzle that reveals a truth that might make him wish that he never bothered in the first place.
I like the structure of Penpal. The chapters are more in the form of short stories, each one revealing a little more of what’s to come at the end. Auerbach creates likeable characters and chilling atmospheres. There are times when the story drags a little and I personally would have liked some more details regarding the end’s big reveal. But overall, it’s an entertaining read. If you’re a gorehound looking for a fix, this may not be for you. But if you’re looking for something that can resemble the simpler, classic kind of campfire ghost story, then check this out.
Also check out Dathan Auerbach’s website at 1000Vultures.com where he gives you links to his Amazon, iTunes, and Nook pages.