Review: Blood Lake Monster by Renee Miller

cover of Blood Lake Monster by Renee MillerBlood Lake Monster by Renee Miller
Unnerving Books (July 2020)

116 pages; $11.49 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Janelle Janson

If you’ve yet to read any of the Rewind or Die series put out by Unnerving, you are surely missing out. I am obsessed with this retro b-movie horror cinema-style series, and if you love brilliant female horror writers, then this is the collection for you! Renee Miller’s Blood Lake Monster is the twelfth publication and the sixth title I’ve read, but I plan to collect all of the paperbacks because…have you checked out these covers?! My favorites thus far are Food Fright, Cirque Berserk, and All You Need Is Love and a Strong Electric Current, but they have all been horror-tastic!

In this urban legend meets creature feature, we are introduced to two central characters: Maribel Daniels, who is about to graduate high school, and her younger sister, Anya. Growing up, the sisters lived in a trailer park in the small town of Tweed. Maribel was an outcast because she was considered “different” and bullied by local kids, particularly Luke, Brad, and Jason. Maribel has moxie and stands up for herself, and this group of delinquents can’t seem to handle it. Unfortunately, they want to punish her even further, and that’s when things go south. Jump ahead ten years later, and we follow Anya, who returns to the trailer park where she grew up. Anya is determined to find out what really happened all those years ago to Maribel, why she disappeared, and to prove it was no accident.

Renee Miller is a smart writer. There is a myth, an urban legend in town, about what happened to Maribel, and we read from different points of view, including the monster itself. It takes real talent to write about these emotional topics and then incorporate a swamp creature, yet somehow it all works. She does a great job sticking to the series theme, even while creating fully fleshed-out, relatable characters such as Maribel and Anya. The ending was disconcerting, with too many unnecessary details added in, but I can’t tell you what they are…you need to read it for yourself! Besides the monster, which was a fantastic character in the book, the story had more depth than I expected from a typical creature feature. Besides all of the fun blood, guts, and gore, Blood Lake Monster includes a look at poverty, bullying, small-town angst, and has a satisfying mystery. It’s always exciting to discover a new author you enjoy reading, and Renee Miller is absolutely an author I will want to read again.

Every book I’ve read in the Rewind or Die series, including Blood Lake Monster, is an easy, fast-paced read. Unnerving continues to deliver and impress me with each book. The cover art for every one of them is perfect, and the stories inside are horror gold! I cannot recommend this series enough. Now excuse me while I go pick up my next Rewind or Die book: Hailey Piper’s Benny Rose, the Cannibal King.

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