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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
It’s just another typical day in the life of small-town female sheriff Lacey Nelson when she arrives to find one of her deputies consoling a chilly and drenched young boy in her office while the boy’s alcoholic father begs to be kept safe from him…and who knows what else…by being locked in a cell. But as the day unfolds, and the father is found dead in the cell, while the son mysteriously disappears from the station, that ordinary day becomes extraordinary and totally bizarre for Lacey as she races to solve what is turning out to be an unsolvable mystery…until she allows a young autistic boy, Laz, to show her something reality can’t.
How very clever of Anthony Hains to write a horror story, The Torment, along the lines of a Stephen King novel, but successfully telling it in only a short number of pages! This is an ideal, one-evening or weekend read for fans of horror fiction, in which everyday reality metamorphoses into the supernatural and back again. Readers who don’t believe in demons, hell, and life after death…if one can call it life…won’t accept the eventual explanations young Laz provides. But then, those readers aren’t likely Stephen King fans either. For the many who are though, this is a well-crafted novella as Anthony Hains creates believable characters, fires your imagination, challenges your concepts of the afterlife, and tosses you a last hook to entice you into checking out his other macabre novels with titles like The Disembodied and Dead Works. If reading macabre stories is your way to escape the daily humdrum, enter into The Torment.