Horror Review: The Possession by Michael Rutger

The Possession was an odd, yet oddly satisfying read for me. It started out strong, hooking my interest with talk of urban legends and historical mysteries. With Pierre's solo excursion to the stone walls, I felt it tipped its hat a little too soon as to what was really happening, which lost me for a good part of the book. Michael Rutger reeled me back in, though, with a final hundred or so pages of unrelenting claustrophobic horror and manic intensity.

There is a perfect, small-town sort of tension throughout the book, with secrets kept from both characters and readers. The mysterious man in the shadows, the odd happenings in the rooms, the cold shoulders of the locals, the weird warnings, and the ominous . . . well, call it reluctance to see the missing girl found alive. It all creates a fantastic setting, and without the quirky humor many authors feel necessary to soften the anxiety.

The stone walls themselves are so simple, and yet full of so much storytelling potential, the setting and characters could have failed completely, and still I would have kept reading, just to find the answers. I'm not completely sold on those answers, and I still have some questions, but mysteries like this are about the search for answers, not the answers themselves. As for the characters, they were decent, likable, and had just enough depth to keep it together.

While early reviewers seem to agree with my complaints about the mid-book lull, we disagree about the ending. I've seen a lot of comments about how the whole second half paled in comparison to the first, but I loved the way Rutger played with sci-fi and horror tropes. I hesitate to say too much, to call out some of the books and movies it reminded me of, but I thoroughly enjoyed the chase to the end.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Expected publication: July 2nd 2019 by Grand Central Publishing

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.