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"A tale of creeping dread … Recommended." —Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater and The Murders of Molly Southbourne "Dark, disturbing, visceral" (5 stars) —NB Magazine In this gothic-styled ghost story that simmers with strange, Warren shows once again her flair for exploring the mundane—themes of love, loss, grief, and guilt manifest in a way that is both hauntingly famili "A tale of creeping dread … Recommended." —Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater and The Murders of Molly Southbourne "Dark, disturbing, visceral" (5 stars) —NB Magazine In this gothic-styled ghost story that simmers with strange, Warren shows once again her flair for exploring the mundane—themes of love, loss, grief, and guilt manifest in a way that is both hauntingly familiar and eerily askew. People come to The Angelsea, a rooming house near the beach, for many reasons. Some come to get some sleep, because here, you sleep like the dead. Dora arrives seeking solitude and escape from reality. Instead, she finds a place haunted by the drowned and desperate, who speak through the sleeping inhabitants. She fears sleep herself, terrified that the ghosts of her daughters will tell her “it’s all your fault we’re dead.” At the same time, she’d give anything to hear them one more time.


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"A tale of creeping dread … Recommended." —Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater and The Murders of Molly Southbourne "Dark, disturbing, visceral" (5 stars) —NB Magazine In this gothic-styled ghost story that simmers with strange, Warren shows once again her flair for exploring the mundane—themes of love, loss, grief, and guilt manifest in a way that is both hauntingly famili "A tale of creeping dread … Recommended." —Tade Thompson, author of Rosewater and The Murders of Molly Southbourne "Dark, disturbing, visceral" (5 stars) —NB Magazine In this gothic-styled ghost story that simmers with strange, Warren shows once again her flair for exploring the mundane—themes of love, loss, grief, and guilt manifest in a way that is both hauntingly familiar and eerily askew. People come to The Angelsea, a rooming house near the beach, for many reasons. Some come to get some sleep, because here, you sleep like the dead. Dora arrives seeking solitude and escape from reality. Instead, she finds a place haunted by the drowned and desperate, who speak through the sleeping inhabitants. She fears sleep herself, terrified that the ghosts of her daughters will tell her “it’s all your fault we’re dead.” At the same time, she’d give anything to hear them one more time.

30 review for Into Bones like Oil

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    My review of INTO BONES LIKE OIL can be found at High Fever Books. Into Bones Like Oil is a tough nut to crack. Kaaron Warren’s latest features some neat concepts that I dug as individual ideas, but which failed to add up to a compelling narrative for me. I suppose I should have braced myself for this book a bit more given that the synopsis sells this story as mundane, even if it tries to cast that as a feature rather than a bug. As it turns out, mundane is actually a pretty good word here. Altho My review of INTO BONES LIKE OIL can be found at High Fever Books. Into Bones Like Oil is a tough nut to crack. Kaaron Warren’s latest features some neat concepts that I dug as individual ideas, but which failed to add up to a compelling narrative for me. I suppose I should have braced myself for this book a bit more given that the synopsis sells this story as mundane, even if it tries to cast that as a feature rather than a bug. As it turns out, mundane is actually a pretty good word here. Although I’m sure the publisher intended “mundane” to emphasize the sense of ordinariness about Warren’s work, its alternate meaning proves perhaps even more apt. Into Bones Like Oil is a dull read, completely bereft of any zip or pizzazz, with nary a trace of excitement to be had. In its opening pages, I found myself applauding Warren’s melancholic tone, which I found immediately striking. This is a slow, gray day kind of read, the sort of book that’s accompanied perfectly by rain and hot tea, and the mood is amplified by the air of sleepless grief these characters carry around among their personal baggage. And if you’re looking for a book that’s pure mood, I’m certain you could do worse than this. If you’re looking for something more than moodiness, though, you’ll likely find yourself disappointed, as I was. After the death of her children, Dora escapes to a beach-side rooming house that caters to the sleepless. At the Angelsea, the guests become mediums for the ghosts of shipwrecks, mostly for the amusement of the home’s owner, Roy. That’s it in terms of plot, really. Dora witnesses the ghosts communicate through the various residents, and while there are hauntings a plenty, there’s nothing particularly interesting or horrifying about any of them. You certainly don’t get any Poltergeist-like scares, and there’s definitely not any creepy, deeply troubling possessions or exorcisms ala Jonathan Janz’s Exorcist Road. The sleepless may be drawn to the Angelsea for the promise of rest, but even readers will be struggling to stay awake through this one. The ghosts are dull, the Angelsea inhabitants are dull, and Into Bones Like Oil is dull. The atmosphere, though is great, even if the story is lackluster, one-note, and repetitive. Even at 90 pages, this book feels overly long given its frustrating lack of…well, anything, really. What’s even more disappointing is that this was my first experience with Warren’s work after seeing plenty of praise for her authorial skills from a number of corners, including editor Ellen Datlow and author Tim Waggoner. I really wanted to like this book, and knowing that it made a number of 2019’s most anticipated horror stories (include our own Logan Noble’s list) had me anticipating something far more exotic, exciting, and frightening than what is actually on display here. I liked Warren’s writing well enough to remain curious about her other works, but if there’s to be a next time I’ll have to pick a story that isn’t so damn mundane. [Note: I received an advance reading copy of this title from the publisher, Meerkat Press.]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    INTO BONES LIKE OIL is moody, atmospheric, and full of emotion. In the short span of 81 pages, the characters shine through just as much as the creepy and overt ghostly themes which spread their cold caress across the page. Set in a haunted rooming house near the beach, the occupants, past and present, share a deep connection with the ghosts of a shipwreck. No only can the rooming house inhabitants see their ghostly neighbors but, when asleep, they can become the vessel to which these ghosts com INTO BONES LIKE OIL is moody, atmospheric, and full of emotion. In the short span of 81 pages, the characters shine through just as much as the creepy and overt ghostly themes which spread their cold caress across the page. Set in a haunted rooming house near the beach, the occupants, past and present, share a deep connection with the ghosts of a shipwreck. No only can the rooming house inhabitants see their ghostly neighbors but, when asleep, they can become the vessel to which these ghosts communicate with the living. Pretty creepy stuff. Ghosts aside, it the character's unique and depressing backstories which capture the emotion and provide depth to the story. Sure the apparitions and voices of the dead are highlights, but I like my horror with some humanity - and this has it. More about this book on my blog: https://justaguywholikes2read.blogspo...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Seb

    "Into Bones Like Oil" is a horror novella that, in my eyes, embodies perfectly Kaaron Warren's universe. Starting as a classic situation - a woman seeks shelter in a strange house -, it very quickly becomes a gripping and idiosyncratic story of horror and redemption through the discovery of the pain of others. What I love about Kaaron Warren's writing, is that the uncanny is actually the normality, and what we call "normality" is actually the real horror. Her characters are all wrecks, broken do "Into Bones Like Oil" is a horror novella that, in my eyes, embodies perfectly Kaaron Warren's universe. Starting as a classic situation - a woman seeks shelter in a strange house -, it very quickly becomes a gripping and idiosyncratic story of horror and redemption through the discovery of the pain of others. What I love about Kaaron Warren's writing, is that the uncanny is actually the normality, and what we call "normality" is actually the real horror. Her characters are all wrecks, broken down in life and in the afterlife, and yet they shine with a dark and moving humanity that makes the reader reflect upon the given notions of "evil", "friendship", "support", and many more. If I should ever teach a class on contemporary horror, "Into Bones Like Oil" would definitely be on my list, to show the students how genre is made to be broken and re-invented. And Kaaron Warren is one of the best in her field when it comes to that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I like that there is an intelligible plot, a likable protagonist, and an interesting premise. A woman has died but finds herself in some kind of purgatory, I believe, in order to come to terms with what happened to her two children. The frustrating aspect of the story is that it never really resolves the issues it raises, and we don't know what ultimately happened to the protagonist. All this is just hinted at. The parameters under which the protagonist operates were never quite made clear, which I like that there is an intelligible plot, a likable protagonist, and an interesting premise. A woman has died but finds herself in some kind of purgatory, I believe, in order to come to terms with what happened to her two children. The frustrating aspect of the story is that it never really resolves the issues it raises, and we don't know what ultimately happened to the protagonist. All this is just hinted at. The parameters under which the protagonist operates were never quite made clear, which is typical for most Weird literature, and which I can handle being left fluid. I enjoyed the supporting characters, the setting of a shipwreck on the coast, and the subplots. However, more has to be nailed down, especially by the end, than Warren cared to clarify. Thus my three-star rating for a story I wanted to like more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    A strange and compelling novella that plays with the reader's expectations, bending the narrative and its themes until its thought-provoking final page. Dora has lost everything a mother and wife could lose. She blames herself for these tragedies, and her low self-esteem and lack of confidence has turned her into a shell of a person. We meet Dora as she checks into the Angelsea, a rooming house in a nameless watefront town with almost no belongings, money, or purpose. The Angelsea is dilapidated A strange and compelling novella that plays with the reader's expectations, bending the narrative and its themes until its thought-provoking final page. Dora has lost everything a mother and wife could lose. She blames herself for these tragedies, and her low self-esteem and lack of confidence has turned her into a shell of a person. We meet Dora as she checks into the Angelsea, a rooming house in a nameless watefront town with almost no belongings, money, or purpose. The Angelsea is dilapidated, meager, cramped, and populated with the lost and forgotten people that society would rather sweep under the rug: ex-convicts, the mentally unstable, and a handful of other guests who silenty agree that one never talks about the past. The inn is also rumored to be a conduit for supernatural occurrences. Kaaron Warren is an accomplished, award-winning author with dozens of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories under her belt. Her talent for deftly weaving through these genres is on full display here. Although many of these characters are given little time in the spotlight, they are crafted with enough depth and dimension to bring about a understanding of their histories and motivations. The story culminates in a hazy, dreamlike catharsis that had me re-examine how I viewed the story from the beginning. Into Bones like Oil an unusually effective tale; hard to define, and harder to forget.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    The protagonist, Dora, has come to The Angelsea, as the description relates, because she is in grief over what happened to her daughters. It is is a rooming house close to the beach that seems inauspicious enough. People come here because they’re meant to be able to sleep very well and sort through psychological troubles. Dora wants to get away from reality. Too bad the place she has chosen is haunted. There are stories Dora hears about former residents that give her chills. Ghosts abound. Dream The protagonist, Dora, has come to The Angelsea, as the description relates, because she is in grief over what happened to her daughters. It is is a rooming house close to the beach that seems inauspicious enough. People come here because they’re meant to be able to sleep very well and sort through psychological troubles. Dora wants to get away from reality. Too bad the place she has chosen is haunted. There are stories Dora hears about former residents that give her chills. Ghosts abound. Dreams abound. And through it all, Dora moves forward bit by bit, piecing together a puzzle in stages, trying to figure out what it means to be here, and what running away from her grief means while wanting to be connected to it at the same time. The residents go into the details of tragic life circumstances they’ve encountered, and there are doctors present who try to maintain some sense of order or structure, while many residents complain they can’t sleep. There are blurred lines between what’s real and what’s not, and the book starts to play tricks on the reader’s mind. If psychological horror done well is your jam, absolutely pick up a copy of Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren, whose work has been hailed by legendary editor Ellen Datlow, and for good reason.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    Interesting and fast to read, definitely the perfect read if you’re travelling, which is my case. I think I’d like to read more books from this author. “We don’t think about that. There’s only now, who’s there now. Otherwise we’re all living in the shadow of others.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andy Weston

    Kaaron Warren, is an Australian author that came to my attention as she has won the Shirley Jackson Award (in 2012). From her biography About The Author, this is of interest.. She’s taught workshops in haunted asylums, old morgues and second hand clothing shops.. Into Bones Like Oil is her most recent novella, and is compelling and splendidly ‘off-the-wall’, a really interesting take on the ghost story that plays with the reader’s expectations until it’s surprisingly powerful climax. Dora is grievi Kaaron Warren, is an Australian author that came to my attention as she has won the Shirley Jackson Award (in 2012). From her biography About The Author, this is of interest.. She’s taught workshops in haunted asylums, old morgues and second hand clothing shops.. Into Bones Like Oil is her most recent novella, and is compelling and splendidly ‘off-the-wall’, a really interesting take on the ghost story that plays with the reader’s expectations until it’s surprisingly powerful climax. Dora is grieving after a tragedy for which she blames herself. In an attempt to come to terms with her depression she checks into the Angelsea, a dilapidated, dirty and cramped rooming house in a nameless watefront town. Its guests are outcasts of society with dark backstories; ex-convicts, the mentally unstable and suchlike, who want to forget the past. The Inn, rumoured to be a conduit for the dead, is also known as Shipwreck House, for the lost crew of a ship which struck the ground at the nearby beach. Warren creates a lot in less than a hundred pages. She sets a dreamlike and bleak scene with a creeping sense of dread. She makes us sympathise with the residents, though most likely if we knew more about them we fear they would be despicable. It’s a novella that reviews struggle to do it justice. There’s a frustration though, a rare one these days, and that it’s too short, Dora’s character feels under-explored, and it’s difficult to identify and understand her situation.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Richardson

    As soon as you start reading Into Bones Like Oil, you're in it, right alongside Dora as she navigates a seaside boarding house for the first time. And just like you, Dora is both curious and guarded, unsure about what to expect from The Angelsea—a shadowy, rickety, shoddily rebuilt home near a tragic coastline, a place that smells of brine and feels like it *could* be haunted ... or maybe you (and Dora) are just being paranoid. Kaaron brings The Angelsea to life on the page much like one of its m As soon as you start reading Into Bones Like Oil, you're in it, right alongside Dora as she navigates a seaside boarding house for the first time. And just like you, Dora is both curious and guarded, unsure about what to expect from The Angelsea—a shadowy, rickety, shoddily rebuilt home near a tragic coastline, a place that smells of brine and feels like it *could* be haunted ... or maybe you (and Dora) are just being paranoid. Kaaron brings The Angelsea to life on the page much like one of its main characters: like she's pulling a soul from the ether. And she does it with deceptive ease: everything feels gentle and comfortable—normal, even—until it doesn't. By then you're hooked into a world that feels like it's just one step removed from our own (not quite magical realism, but something close to it ... something a little darker, a little grittier, a little more unnerving). There's sadness here, especially in Dora's past—a knot of remorse that she's trying to run away from. Something unbearable that she's struggling to be at peace with. The same is true for the other residents of The Angelsea, who all have their own secret shames, and who all feel both strikingly real and curiously odd at the same time (much like everything in The Angelsea). Partially, it's a story about misfits coming together and finding solace in each other's company, with the knowledge that at least they, too, aren't alone. It's also a story about shipwrecked spirits, sleep-induced hauntings, and ghostly murmurs from the past. For me, though, it's mostly a story about Dora's search for healing in a life that has left her feeling (understandably) broken—if such healing can ever be found. It's beautiful, and sad, and at times quite hopeful. A dark literary blend of so many great things. Mood: Rainy days, shadowy hallways, fog-wrapped lighthouses, eerie voices heard through weather-warped wood.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Zavala

    Into Bones Like Oil is a gothic novella about Dora who goes to the Angelsea to get some rest after her daughters are murdered. The Angelsea sit on the coastline above a haunted shipwreck. Roy is the creepy proprietor of The Angelsea who is constantly searching for treasure and looting the shipwreck. When Dora learns that Roy speaks to ghosts while the residents of the Angelsea sleep, she is conflicted by Roy's intentions and the possibility that she might be able to speak to her daughters. Into B Into Bones Like Oil is a gothic novella about Dora who goes to the Angelsea to get some rest after her daughters are murdered. The Angelsea sit on the coastline above a haunted shipwreck. Roy is the creepy proprietor of The Angelsea who is constantly searching for treasure and looting the shipwreck. When Dora learns that Roy speaks to ghosts while the residents of the Angelsea sleep, she is conflicted by Roy's intentions and the possibility that she might be able to speak to her daughters. Into Bones Like Oil is haunting, dark, and surprisingly relatable. What would you do if your daughters were murdered? How would you process your grief and pain? Thank you to Meerkat Press for providing me a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Generous

    Unnerving Magazine Review Listen to my conversation with the author here: https://www.unnervingmagazine.com/sin... Memories and the ghosts they drudge up…metaphorically and physically. The cast Warren builds in these 90 or so pages are so explored and rounded that they’d likely present well in a much longer work, that said, she does this in a concise and impactful manner, which then adds layer to the impending, mounting dread. Day and night, the sense that something is off and that something is co Unnerving Magazine Review Listen to my conversation with the author here: https://www.unnervingmagazine.com/sin... Memories and the ghosts they drudge up…metaphorically and physically. The cast Warren builds in these 90 or so pages are so explored and rounded that they’d likely present well in a much longer work, that said, she does this in a concise and impactful manner, which then adds layer to the impending, mounting dread. Day and night, the sense that something is off and that something is coming carries this story, supporting the thick and murky atmosphere in a way similar to classic Gothic tales. The possession-like moments and the ghastly processions drag out eeriness and discomfort with finesse—though at the obvious expense of the characters you’ve come to root for. And although there’s hope for most of the characters’ futures, as if each stands in his own or her own a way station, the hope’s not exactly around the corner. This has the characters in that sympathetic zone of between a rock and hard place, which also makes room for corruption, and for trouble and pain to wiggle in and claim residence. Drawing the disquiet and strain home, beyond the pages. Clever, human, enthralling, there’s a lot going right for this book with very little downside.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donald Armfield

    Into Bones Like Oil is a supernatural calling where the dead inhabitant the sleep schedules of tenants of a small cramped, dilapidated rooming house. Whatever comes or whoever comes from the wreckage has a story to tell. Dora tries to find a comfortable place to hide from her faults, but gets a little more then she bargained for. Nightmare on Elm Street meets Beetlejuice and the cursed garments fit into bones like oil. Recommended for all those readers who want ghost stories that will “Help you sl Into Bones Like Oil is a supernatural calling where the dead inhabitant the sleep schedules of tenants of a small cramped, dilapidated rooming house. Whatever comes or whoever comes from the wreckage has a story to tell. Dora tries to find a comfortable place to hide from her faults, but gets a little more then she bargained for. Nightmare on Elm Street meets Beetlejuice and the cursed garments fit into bones like oil. Recommended for all those readers who want ghost stories that will “Help you sleep, Maybe?”

  13. 5 out of 5

    julia ☆ [owls reads]

    Into Bones Like Oil is a creepy little novella with a very unique and intriguing premise and great writing. The plot is engaging and very well executed, as it slowly builds up tension until the very final sentence, and present quite a few eerie scenes. The setting is an interesting choice and it serves as the perfect backdrop for hauntings and ghosts. The characters are also just as strange and creepy as the plot and they make up for a fascinating cast of people to read about. The way Warren uses Into Bones Like Oil is a creepy little novella with a very unique and intriguing premise and great writing. The plot is engaging and very well executed, as it slowly builds up tension until the very final sentence, and present quite a few eerie scenes. The setting is an interesting choice and it serves as the perfect backdrop for hauntings and ghosts. The characters are also just as strange and creepy as the plot and they make up for a fascinating cast of people to read about. The way Warren uses the narrative to slowly paint a picture of what happened just not to Dora, but to the shipwreck, is a bit confusing at first. There's not a lot to go on at the beginning to understand what's going on and, even after that's been made clear, Dora's own history is a bit muddy. Still a pretty entertaining and compelling read! And the ending is a great conclusion to the story. * ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet Martin

    A strange little ghost story, that slowly unveils a bereaved main character. Dory leaves her home and checks into a haunted boarding house filled with a strange and damaged cast of characters who share goals of trying to reach peace. Compelling and thought provoking

  15. 5 out of 5

    Catherine McCarthy

    I read this novella in two sittings, purely because I was unable to put it down. I would categorize this as weird fiction, alongside horror fiction. I think it’s going to be a Marmite book – you’ll either love it, or hate it. I loved it. So what are its strengths? First and foremost, I loved the surreal feeling it provided. The opening feels as if it belongs in the ‘real world,’ yet it doesn’t take long to realize that things are not what they seem. The dream-like quality throughout is cleverly I read this novella in two sittings, purely because I was unable to put it down. I would categorize this as weird fiction, alongside horror fiction. I think it’s going to be a Marmite book – you’ll either love it, or hate it. I loved it. So what are its strengths? First and foremost, I loved the surreal feeling it provided. The opening feels as if it belongs in the ‘real world,’ yet it doesn’t take long to realize that things are not what they seem. The dream-like quality throughout is cleverly done, but it is deeper than that, almost trance-like. For those of you who have suffered real grief, or deep anxiety, I think you’ll understand what I mean when I say it’s like that state you’re in when you’re struggling to come to terms with the devastating news you’ve received. And the physical as well as emotional feelings which accompany such trauma, that feeling of only having one foot in the real world - the alienation and the wishing to be someone else - well, that too. The exhaustion, the angst, the feelings of guilt if you happen to find something amusing, they’re all there. A lot of the reviews praise the ending, but for me this was my least favorite part. I wanted more, but at the same time accept that this is hardly ever the case with regards to weird fiction. As I read, I anticipated this, and so was almost fearful of reaching the end. I rate this novella 4.5. It will certainly stay with me for some time to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    The Angelsea is a house for lost causes, for those who can’t live with themselves and, above all, can’t sleep. It’s also a house full of ghosts. When Dora arrives, she doesn’t really know what she expects to find, except maybe some sleep, some punishment for her own actions and an escape from the idea that she might be responsible for her daughters’ deaths. However, there is a deeper strangeness in that house – and a deeper darkness surrounding its inhabitants. Being a story of ghosts – both of t The Angelsea is a house for lost causes, for those who can’t live with themselves and, above all, can’t sleep. It’s also a house full of ghosts. When Dora arrives, she doesn’t really know what she expects to find, except maybe some sleep, some punishment for her own actions and an escape from the idea that she might be responsible for her daughters’ deaths. However, there is a deeper strangeness in that house – and a deeper darkness surrounding its inhabitants. Being a story of ghosts – both of the type that wander in lost places and those who wander in one’s mind, - one of the main strengths of this short but fascinating book is the mysterious aura that seems to surround everything. From the slightly decrepit and bizarre look of the house to the enigmatic rites of sleep, everything seems to contain its own measure of mystery, which makes it absurdly easy to enter the strange world of these sleepless characters – and the ghosts that surround them. The writing itself seems to reinforce this feeling of mystery, with Dora’s shadows and thoughts giving life to a scenery where everything seems to be somewhat haunted. Dora’s past comes to life in her thoughts and the burden she carries with her takes on a whole new dimension when the great revelations of this tale come to light. And the ghosts… well, the ghosts are everywhere, and their stories are simultaneously dark and fascinating. Each character carries a heavy burden and a strange story, which makes them more complex and also more vulnerable. It makes absolute sense, then, that everything is surrounded by mystery and that not everything finds a definitive conclusion. Life always goes on at the end of each story. And the ending of this one is especially adequate to the path it left behind. In the end, it all comes down to this: a relatively short book containing a hugely impressive tale of ghosts and search for redemption. Beautifully written and fascinatingly dark, a book to remember long after its last page. * I received this book from Meerkat Press in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Dora in a new room, Tuesday by the coast, onwards through days and a need for sleep after bad things surpassed. Once a mother now some space needed to clear within, unsettled and unfinished business, loss and ghosts to meddle with in this hauntingly tender tale incorporating grief and finding solace. There will be no high fear factor ghosts of terror but the melancholy slow kind and the channeling that can work too in a tale. “You know it’s more than a rooming house. You wouldn’t have come, other Dora in a new room, Tuesday by the coast, onwards through days and a need for sleep after bad things surpassed. Once a mother now some space needed to clear within, unsettled and unfinished business, loss and ghosts to meddle with in this hauntingly tender tale incorporating grief and finding solace. There will be no high fear factor ghosts of terror but the melancholy slow kind and the channeling that can work too in a tale. “You know it’s more than a rooming house. You wouldn’t have come, otherwise. You need help to sleep. Everyone does who comes to me. You will sleep well here at The Angelsea. No doubt about that at all. It’s my little contribution.” “Haven’t you noticed? This place is full of shipwreck stories. Most of us are f****n wrecks.” “Luke calls it Shitwreck House!” Review also @ More2read

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Belmont

    Okay, Kaaron Warren has written this little novella called Into Bones Like Oil. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would be as this is my first read from this author, but the premise was intriguing. HOLY CROW! What a read! It’s creepy, it gets right under your skin and stays with you long after you set the book down. The plot instantly hooked me. The slow build tension is perfect for this type of story. I could feel the dread and eeriness as each scene presented itself. The setting is super intriguing Okay, Kaaron Warren has written this little novella called Into Bones Like Oil. I wasn’t sure exactly how it would be as this is my first read from this author, but the premise was intriguing. HOLY CROW! What a read! It’s creepy, it gets right under your skin and stays with you long after you set the book down. The plot instantly hooked me. The slow build tension is perfect for this type of story. I could feel the dread and eeriness as each scene presented itself. The setting is super intriguing and the characters are odd which adds to the horror element of this story. Kaaron Warren slowly paints a picture of what she wants you to see, and it takes a while to understand exactly what is happening. I absolutely loved that about this novella. If you enjoy dark, creepy reads, Into Bones Like Oil is one you shouldn’t miss! The way Warren uses the narrative to slowly paint a picture of what happened just not to Dora, but to the shipwreck, is a bit confusing at first. There’s not a lot to go on at the beginning to understand what’s going on and, even after that’s been made clear, Dora’s own history is a bit muddy. Still a pretty entertaining and compelling read! And the ending is a great conclusion to the story. *Complimentary copy received from Meerkat Press. All opinions are my own.*

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eugen Bacon

    Accomplished story, unsettling.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This is SO far out of my usual reading box - it has been *decades* since the last time I read a "horror" novel! But something about the review I read pulled me into this award winning, Aussie horror and suspernatural writer. Nice homage to RL Stevenson (who I have begun to reread, also after decades). The characters are contemporary, 3 dimensional, and appear real. The ending seemed a bit sudden, but then it was a novella. I enjoyed this read enough to purchase a couple of her collections as eboo This is SO far out of my usual reading box - it has been *decades* since the last time I read a "horror" novel! But something about the review I read pulled me into this award winning, Aussie horror and suspernatural writer. Nice homage to RL Stevenson (who I have begun to reread, also after decades). The characters are contemporary, 3 dimensional, and appear real. The ending seemed a bit sudden, but then it was a novella. I enjoyed this read enough to purchase a couple of her collections as ebooks. Her physical books can be pricey at times here in the US (smaller presses, Australian publishers). But her ebooks on kindle in America are priced well. Looking forward to reading a few more of her novella length works.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    If you're one of those people who can never remember your dreams, then reading Kaaron Warren, or at least this particular novella, should give you a good idea of what dreaming is like. There is both a storyline and a distinct protagonist, but these don't ever feel as if they dominate the odd string of interactions and events. If I had to pick a genre, this tastes a lot more of weird than of horror, despite all the ghosts, wrecked ships, and occasional gross detail described. This is all dream lo If you're one of those people who can never remember your dreams, then reading Kaaron Warren, or at least this particular novella, should give you a good idea of what dreaming is like. There is both a storyline and a distinct protagonist, but these don't ever feel as if they dominate the odd string of interactions and events. If I had to pick a genre, this tastes a lot more of weird than of horror, despite all the ghosts, wrecked ships, and occasional gross detail described. This is all dream logic, enormously readable (if: you're able to just... not expect awake logic.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carlton Phelps

    Another dark book that may not be for everyone. It seems a small gathering of lost souls end up in the same boarding house that is full of ghost from a shipwreck that happened when pirates roamed the coast. Everyone who lives there have problems with sleep but there is a Dr. who can help with that. The problem is that is when the ghost come alive to the sleeping subject. And while they sleep the landlord sits with you and questions the ghost looking for clues about lost treasure. An odd grouping o Another dark book that may not be for everyone. It seems a small gathering of lost souls end up in the same boarding house that is full of ghost from a shipwreck that happened when pirates roamed the coast. Everyone who lives there have problems with sleep but there is a Dr. who can help with that. The problem is that is when the ghost come alive to the sleeping subject. And while they sleep the landlord sits with you and questions the ghost looking for clues about lost treasure. An odd grouping of characters that bond as they get to know each other. As a side note, if the they residents didn't have enough problems the hotel is rundown.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Roy

    This book ended and I did not want it to. Written with a hypnotic force, images are somehow superimposed and blur and then sharpen into startling vividness, all in the service of profoundest grief. I’ll be okay in a few days.

  24. 4 out of 5

    NICHO⍼AS ∴

    Well this is an intriguing one. It's sad, weird and surprisingly creepy. Surprising because I wasn't exactly creeped out while reading it, but once it was over the ghosts of these lost souls popped into my mind (and dare I say the edges of my vision) at some inopportune times. It's been a while since that happened. Imagine the cast of characters from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest* took up residence in The Overlook Hotel, and they weren't exactly concerned about what was happening there, but rat Well this is an intriguing one. It's sad, weird and surprisingly creepy. Surprising because I wasn't exactly creeped out while reading it, but once it was over the ghosts of these lost souls popped into my mind (and dare I say the edges of my vision) at some inopportune times. It's been a while since that happened. Imagine the cast of characters from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest* took up residence in The Overlook Hotel, and they weren't exactly concerned about what was happening there, but rather were resigned to their fate. Accepting of it, if not exactly at peace with the idea. *The Australian play/film Cosi might actually work better, but I'm not sure how well known that is outside of Australia. Feel free to swap as applicable. (Also for Australians - maybe think of a depressed, adult take on the TV show Round the Twist?) This novella is so engaging it's a breeze to read through even as it deals with heavy themes of trauma, grief, relationships, control and abuse. There's an odd sense of comfort to it, if you can embrace the overwhelming listlessness or helplessness the narrator conveys.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I didn't have expectations going into this, having come across Warren's work in anthologies, but not recalling it especially. This novella has as interesting concept and Warren does well in coloring in the landscape and the seedy building in which the story happens. But I felt this novella lacked subtlety, to an extreme degree, at least for my taste. When the supernatural appears, it's uninteresting. It's like, "Oh there's a ghost, well ho-hum, let's continue onward." The thing is, this feels li I didn't have expectations going into this, having come across Warren's work in anthologies, but not recalling it especially. This novella has as interesting concept and Warren does well in coloring in the landscape and the seedy building in which the story happens. But I felt this novella lacked subtlety, to an extreme degree, at least for my taste. When the supernatural appears, it's uninteresting. It's like, "Oh there's a ghost, well ho-hum, let's continue onward." The thing is, this feels like it has potential, especially in it's emotional side, but I came away from it not sure what it was trying to achieve. Unfortunately this feels like it should have been a short story, or a more fleshed-out novel.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather Gadd

    Just a small taste of an extremely talented and renowned author. The entire tale is heavy with dread and death, but its characters are very much alive. It’s tragic and creepy, so incredibly written that I didn’t want to be in that headspace but was compelled to finish. I will be reading more of her stuff in the near future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andria Potter

    DNF at 40%. Not for me. This is well written but I just couldn't care less about Dora. I liked the descriptions and the idea of the story, but the book itself just didn't work for me. 2.5 🌟

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alan Baxter

    Warren does it again. Genuinely one of the best writers working today.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    A shipwreck and a house of wrecked people bringing ghosts to them and running from their own. This was an awesome, sad, human story. *Won in a Goodreads giveaway*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    This one was...odd. Mostly in a good way, although also in a confusing one. Warren has crafted an atmospheric tale that feels a little like Shirley Jackson (a high compliment coming from me) crossed with Kurt Vonnegut (not-so high, as I tend to feel lost in a disorienting way when reading him) by way of eerie (as opposed to horrifying) Stephen King (high again). The result is an unusual amalgamation of creepy, intriguing, dark-knowing-smile-inducing madness that left me uncertain about what I wa This one was...odd. Mostly in a good way, although also in a confusing one. Warren has crafted an atmospheric tale that feels a little like Shirley Jackson (a high compliment coming from me) crossed with Kurt Vonnegut (not-so high, as I tend to feel lost in a disorienting way when reading him) by way of eerie (as opposed to horrifying) Stephen King (high again). The result is an unusual amalgamation of creepy, intriguing, dark-knowing-smile-inducing madness that left me uncertain about what I was reading even as I was reading it. It was eerie and unsettling - and mostly in a good way. I really liked the scene-setting beginning. It held dark promise and felt ominously full of whispers in the dark and things glimpsed out of the corners of your eyes. I had high hopes but wasn't sure or what exactly - a feeling I often have with the indomitable Ms. Jackson and the incomparable Mr. King. I love that feeling. Then, much to my dismay, I lost the beat in the middle as the layers started piling on. The multiple characters were presented in teasing half-tones that felt like half-imagined thoughts - but not in a tone-setting way so much as in an overlapping, uncertain-where-things-should-go one. It felt like a hoarder's imagining of a cast of characters - a collection of random bits that I suspected made sense to the collector but that I couldn't make hide nor hair of myself. I do not love that feeling. Then the end came, and holy moly, I was right back in the thick of it. The fabulous, marvelous, open-but-not-quite end pulled me back into a series of reconsiderations and reinterpretations and left me wandering in the dark in the best possible way. I REALLY love that feeling. On the whole I wound up at 3.5 stars on this one. The beginning and very end were exceptional, but so much of the substance of the tale was in the middle bits and those felt as muddled as the limes at the bottom of the glass, post-mojito. Good stuff comes from those bits. They're essential to the experience of the drink. It wouldn't be the same without them - in fact, it wouldn't exist without them. But you don't quite know what to do with them when you're done... That's how I felt when I consider this one as a whole. It may be my tendency to want things to follow a more straightforward path - or if they meander, to form some semblance of a path in their conclusion - that is what I'm actually struggling with here. This is a more free-flowing story than I normally am drawn to, but that is also where a lot of its charm lay for me. (Hello, ending...) I found my attention flagging a few times in the middle, and while I'm glad I stuck it out, if it had been much longer I don't know if I would have been able to. If you like your narratives tidy, you may find yourself in my boat on this one - struggling a bit to carry on, fighting against the cross-cutting pulls - but if you can let that desire for tidiness go, there's some fascinating stuff here... Thanks to the grand folks at Meerkat Press for my obligation-free review copy.

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