College sophomore Alexander Strauss has one rule: no messing around with straight guys. Especially not his mouthwatering roommate, Shannon. When their ride share drives off the side of a mountain, the two young men find themselves deep in an uninhabited forest searching for their missing friend. Wandering the famously cursed grounds of Dudleytown, Alex figures something truly unholy must be at play, because only insanity could tempt him to break his cardinal rule.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Dudleytown is a perfect Halloween treat. This novella has just the right amount of ingredients to produce a humorous, fun, and entertaining story. It definitely has the feel of a creepy Halloween cautionary tale and the main characters awareness of both this and pop culture help to make the story thoroughly enjoyable.
The story begins with three friends trying to take a “shortcut” through a deserted town and on an ill-maintained road. An accident sends the car skidding over an incline and leaves the driver seriously injured. Determined not to be a statistic later told in campfire tales, Alex, Shannon and Ricky try to find help. Of course no creepy story ends that easily.
This novella really shines as the author has excellent comic timing and very witty dialogue. The main narrator in Alex is charming with his self effacing humor and love of horror films. His internal monologues tend to run on though – imagine him mentally listing all the creepy horror scenarios he can think of while they’re supposed to be looking for their friend. On the one hand this is entertaining for the reader since anyone with a cursory knowledge of slasher films knows the conditions that lead to death, such as never be the one left behind. Yet at the same time it does kill some of the immersion in the story since it’s too self indulgent.
This leads into the other problem I had with the story since Shannon and Alex have a mutual jerk off session in the woods while hunted by creepy men. I was with the story up until this point but then it completely lost me. I enjoyed the sexual tension between Shannon and Alex and even the briefly interrupted scene on the ground is both hot and appropriate. When they take it further though it made very little sense given what happened with Ricky immediately prior.
Other than these issues, which just remind the reader they’re reading a humorous take on a creepy Halloween story, the writing really delivers with a good blend of entertainment and gore. There is nothing that is likely to offend any readers but it adds the perfect ghostly atmosphere to compliment the Halloween time and feel. Fans of the author will adore this as it has all the strength of the author’s writing and the perfect story to curl up with on a dark night. The happy ending/resolution between Shannon and Alex is a stretch, well Shannon’s reasoning is ridiculous, but it gives a happy finale to what could have been a cautionary tale.