If writing is an art form, then the various types of format represent the different types of canvas upon which an artist can paint their story. One of the most challenging types is the novella. With a novel, the author has the opportunity to really explore their subject matter and their characters over the course of many pages. With a short story, the author is given some degree of leeway in providing less character and plot development for the sake of brevity. A novella is a hybrid of the two. It is expected to be shorter than a novel, but more involved than a short story. The author must develop their characters and tell their story without using too much page space. It is for these reasons that I am often very impressed when I come across a novella that truly captures my attention and does not leave me disappointed by the end. Boom Town by Glenn Rolfe is a great find that avoids all of the potential pitfalls of a novella.
Terror from below!
In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.
Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.
The story is very tightly written, but still provides us with characters we care enough about to grip us throughout the novella. The author’s use of having the two protagonists thinking of themselves in terms of another book’s characters provides an added layer of connection to the characters that might not have otherwise been possible in such a short period of time. The descriptions of the terrifying events that unfold is written to perfection and I would have sworn I was reading a short story simply because of the story’s fast-paced narrative that left me finished before I realized it. At the same time, the story does not leave the reader hanging, but provides a great ending within the framework of everything the author had written up to that point. The horror and tension is high throughout the entire story and there is plenty there for both gore hounds as well as those who like atmospheric scares.
Perhaps the biggest issue I had with this book is how hard it is to tell about it without giving too much away. The narrative is so tightly woven together that to reveal any pieces beyond the synopsis already given on the book itself is to risk giving away key elements of the story. I don’t recall the last time I enjoyed a novella nearly as much as I did Rolfe’s Boom Town. I was instantly grabbed and yanked through the story, but the ending didn’t leave me unfulfilled as a reader.
So all that being said, what the Rage score?
Story Concept - 4/5
Story Execution – 4.5/5
Story Flow - 5/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) – 4.5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 5/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement - 5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) - 5/5
Overall – 4.7/5 – BRAVE THE OOZE AND EXPLORE BOOM TOWN YOURSELF!
Boom Town is available through several outlets:
Samhain Horror: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5386/boom-town
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/boom-town-glenn-rolfe/1121271645?ean=9781619225923
Glenn Rolfe, Bio
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.
He is the author the ghost/mystery/thriller novella, ABRAM'S BRIDGE (Samhain Publishing, Jan. 2015) and his latest novella, a Horror/Sci-Fi mash-up, BOOM TOWN (Samhain Publishing). A full-length novel, BLOOD AND RAIN, will come out this Fall from Samhain Publishing and THINGS WEFEAR, a novella, is set to publish from Samhain in 2016.His debut novel, THE HAUNTED HALLS (James Ward Kirk Publishing, 2014), is available now, as well as his short story collection, SLUSH (Alien Agenda Publishing, 2014).Look for his punk rock band, The Never Nudes, on Amazon and Facebook.
Check out his website: www.glennrolfe.com