Horror Review: Doll Face by Tim Curran

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. While I make every attempt to avoid spoilers, please be aware that an ARC synopsis, press release, or review request may disclose details that are not revealed in the published cover blurb.

Well, I guess it was inevitable. After 4 fantastic reads in a row, each of which has both wowed and delighted me, I've stumbled against my first Tim Curran disappointment. As much as I was excited by the concept, and as much as I expected to enjoy it, Doll Face just fell completely flat for me.

Things got off to a rough start almost immediately, with a cast of characters I neither liked enough to root for, nor hated enough to cheer on their deaths. To use that term again, they just fell flat for me. Now, to be fair, a few of them did have their moments, but not nearly enough to keep me reading.

As for the story, it did start out strong. There was a great mystery to it, and a lot of serious WTF scenes that kept convincing me to read on, hoping it would get better and I'd find that connection. Little pieces absolutely delighted me, like the first appearance of the Spider Mother and the weird-as-hell confrontation in the empty (or is it?) diner full of rotting (or is it?) food and living (or are they?) doll diners, but it all got very repetitive, very monotonous, very soon. I never thought I'd use terms like 'tiresome' and 'boring' with Curran's work, but in this case they (sadly) fit.

While I do believe a pair of extraordinarily effective 20-25 page short stories could be excised and rescued from the text, that's about all the concept can sustain for me. Taken as a whole, I'm afraid 246 pages is about 200 pages too much, and that's a shame, especially since I usually don't want his books to end.

Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by DarkFuse