If you’ve never heard of T.W. Grim, it’s about time you start paying attention to one of the best indie horror authors around. Following his progress of the past seven years, it’s been a pleasure to see him evolve in skill and continue to deliver on the type of horror which speaks to me as a reader. He is masterful in enveloping the reader in oppressive and uncomfortable atmospheres. Then his character-driven narratives take over. More often than not, these characters are gritty and harsh, and the misfortune which befalls them is unflinching and uncompromising.
In the Summer of 79’ lives up to Grim’s established tone and style. Brent, an electrician, is sent to a group home for psychiatric patients where he has the misfortune of crossing paths with Douglas Reynaert, an elderly patient on death’s doorstep with an incredibly disturbing story to tell. Brent is forced into submission and must endure the story Douglas tells him about the Summer of 79’.
Without going into spoilers, the story Douglas tells Brent (and the reader) can be interrupted in different ways. Are the events which Douglas recounts the product of a deranged mind in the middle of a full downward spiral? Or are there supernatural elements influencing Doug’s behavior? Regardless of what you believe, you are in for an unsettling ride until the end, which is where the story suffers a bit from a rushed ending. I feel as if there could have been a bit more of a denouement where Douglas and Brent’s encounter is tied up a bit nicer.
However, for a bargain bin price of .99 cents, the short story is well-worth the price of admission into the world of T.W. Grim. If you enjoyed this story, I suggest moving on to Grim’s more extended works like “When The Stars Fall” and “The Promises We Make in December.” While “99 Brief Scenes from the End of the World” is Grim’s most famous novel to date, his later work is much more polished and mature. However, by all mean’s, go ahead and read that too!