“Martin has penned a tale of exceptionally unique vision and style, a darkly poignant story riddled with undercurrents of achingly seductive eroticism and temptation tempered by the threads of terror that permeate the book.”
Anya Martin is something of a newcomer on the horror scene, but not a complete unknown. She’s been published in multiple publications including—but not limited to—Cthulhu Fhtagn!, Eternal Frankenstein, and the prestigious Borderlands 6. With Grass, her most recent novella from Dim Shores, she shows herself to be a legitimate player in the genre, her talent and imagination shining through in a celebration of imagination and creativity.
In Grass, Sheila is summoned by police to come and identify her ex-husband’s corpse. The only other person who could have identified him—the woman he left her for—has perished with him and Sheila is the only alternative available to them. Upon returning home, she begins to find unexplainable puddles of water around the house that appear and dissipate in random locations around the house. But that’s only the beginning of the strangeness in this tension charged tale of love, loneliness, sex, and death.
Anya Martin is a remarkably inventive author and that inventiveness serves her well in Grass. As you delve into the content of the story, you’ll discover that even the title is an exercise in innovation, possibly referring to the sawgrass that had punched through her ex-husbands body, but just as easily symbolic of the weed that Sheila smokes frequently throughout the book. And that’s just one example of the symbolic ambiguity that permeates Martin’s highly sensual, image rich narrative. She’s a master of the “show, don’t tell” rule of storytelling and Grass is an intensely visual rendering of this highly surreal, haunting depiction of Sheila’s sometimes wondrous, extremely sensuous, and often terrifying experience with the strange and inexplicable.
With Grass Anya Martin shows herself to be an exceptional wordsmith. Her settings are dark and enchanting, her pacing is outstanding, and her development of Sheila’s character is nothing short of perfect. But those elements are merely the icing on the cake. The true magic comes from a couple of other sources. One of those is her incredible alacrity with her handling of the English language. Her words are darkly poetic, almost mesmerizing in their natural, organic cadence, the tone perfect for her chosen subject matter as they flow as liquid and smooth as the water that plays such a prevalent role in her story.
The other great strength to Grass—and this is the big one—comes down to simple originality. Anya Martin has penned a tale of exceptionally unique vision and style, a darkly poignant story riddled with undercurrents of achingly seductive eroticism and temptation tempered by the threads of terror that permeate the book. Her voice and her approach to storytelling, her modus operandi, if you will, is distinctly her own and it serves to establish her as a force to be reckoned with in the realm of dark speculative fiction. It’s invigorating when an author comes along with fresh ideas and a distinctive imagination, and Martin is just such a writer. If you’ve yet to experience the exceptional and groundbreaking fiction she’s creating, you should do so sooner rather than later. We promise you won’t regret it.
SHANE DOUGLAS KEENE
Publisher: Dim Shores
Release Date: 30 September, 2016 (Limited print run of 150 copies)
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