I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Starving Ghosts in Every Thread by Eric LaRocca
Published by Self Published on 27 April 2020
Genres: Horror, Novella, Body Horror
Buy on Amazon
Teddy has a secret.
She's so consumed with guilt that it compels her body to literally unravel unless she feeds off the emotions of others. Teddy’s parasitic condition is usually tempered easily and is invisible to most, unless she feeds from them. However, her insatiable hunger has already begun to threaten her safety. Trapped in her tiny Connecticut hometown thanks to a careless mistake which cost her a prestigious scholarship, Teddy grieves her father’s death and cares for her neurotic mother, Mercy, who is convinced scorpion venom is the only remedy for her own peculiar skin ailment linked to her daughter’s sadness.
Once an aspiring songwriter, Teddy now merely alternates between shifts at the local market and visits to the house of her eccentric neighbor, Mr. Ridley, for fresh scorpions to bring to her mother. It’s during one of her routine visits to Mr. Ridley’s subterranean grotto of exotic animals that Teddy meets an unusual young girl named Kiiara. Immediately enamored with one another, Teddy soon discovers that Kiiara is hiding a gruesome secret, too – a secret that will threaten to undo everything Teddy has ever known and loved, and violently touch all those who cross their path with disaster.
I have a problem. I really do not know how to articulate into words this review! I know, I know it sounds super dramatic, BUT Starving Ghosts in Every Thread is a compact work of art! The opening chapter had my mind running wild. The beautiful narrative, in its almost poetic monologue had me captured like a fish on a hook! Eric LaRocca has pushed the limits between horror and symbolism. I had the distinct feeling that I was reading one thing but LaRocca was inviting you to look further, to peel each disturbing layer back until you had the full story.
Our protagonist, Teddy is a girl that is dealing with so much. Her father, who seemed to be her rock has died, her mother is all kind of levels neurotic. A lot to deal with, right? That’s before we even examine her special gifts. Teddy feeds off the emotions of other people, be that anger, happiness, or depression…if she doesn’t her skin will unravel…Starving Ghosts in Every Thread teases an epic and quite intense plot. The title is starting to make a lot of sense, and LaRocca is going to leave nothing to chance.
With tropes of body horror, guilt and remorse and trauma. The characterisation is deep and dark, and it sets the tone perfectly for the tale ahead.
Eric LaRocca’s writing although dark feels so undeniably right and you know that no matter the trajectory of the plot, the author has your back. I think it’s a special thing to trust a new author so implicitly, especially within a few chapters. Let’s face it – we are flooded with so many amazing horror novels that it is extremely hard to stand out, but Starving Ghosts in Every Thread has done it, tenfold.
Starving Ghosts in Every Thread took me to my happy place. The characterisation is sharp, the plot is tighter than two coats of paint. This book was everything and more. Not only do we have an intriguing premise but the meaning behind it all (or at least what I perceived it to mean). The loosening threads reminded me of that disconnected feeling we get when we are depressed or sad. That darkness that we drown in, leading us to a place where we feel numb and would do anything to just feel, something. Teddy clings to human emotion to keep herself whole, to feel like she once did. It was clever and ingenious.
I just wanted more. More about her condition, more about the why behind her mothers’ state. The violence was perfect for the length of this novella, but I expect amazing things from Mr LaRocca in the future.
ABOUT ERIC LAROCCA
Eric LaRocca’s horror fiction has appeared in various literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad such as Stiff Things and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 2. He is also the author of several plays which have been developed and produced at theaters across the country including Love Creek Productions (NYC) and Hartford Stage (Hartford, CT). His debut novella, Starving Ghosts in Every Thread, was released in May 2020. Follow him on Twitter @ejlarocca.