Book Review: Out Behind the Barn

OUT BEHIND THE BARN | John Boden & Chad Lutzke
09.27.2018 | CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Rating: 5/5 stars

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Davey and Ronny can hear Miss Maggie returning in the middle of the night. As they creep to their window, they spot her heading to the barn with a long bundle, the weight of which makes her frail body stoop. Davey and Ronny know what’s inside the canvas-wrapped parcel. They are about to have another member of the family.

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A simple tree, gouged into wood, three old fingerprints the color of fallen leaves, then the fresh one near a bottom branch.

That’s all the plot summary you need to know before deciding you should pick this novella up! At 100 pages this story packs a serious punch and has everything you need to leave you satisfied!

It’s clear from the first several pages that something strange is going on at Miss Maggie’s farm, where she lives with her two boys, Davey and Ronny. It seems to be a normal occurrence that the trio will have a new “family member” join them. They always arrive in the night. They always seem to have forgotten how to function. Despite the strange arrival and departure pattern, the boys are optimistic that these people will stay with them forever, if they can only just learn how to behave the way Miss Maggie wants.

This novella has so much heart packaged inside with a healthy dose of mystery, science fiction, and horror. The delivery of each of these elements is meticulous and methodically unveiled to the reader. You almost feel as if you’re one of the new family members waking up at Miss Maggie’s farm and learning the lay of the land. Learning the secrets kept on this property.

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But he knew better. They never came back.

There is so much depth inside this small book that it’s hard to put to into words how something meant to creep you out can also make your heart hurt when you finish reading it. Everything is so seamless woven together that it blows my mind to think that two people wrote this novella together. I loved the author’s notes at the end of the story where Lutzke describes the method behind the Boden’s original creation of this story and how the two of them worked together to make it the finished product it is today.

It’s safe to say at this point I’ll be stocking up on the rest of Lutzke’s books, as well as looking into John Boden’s work. Thank you to the ladies behind Night Worms for bringing such talented new authors to my reading life!

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