Rookfield by Gordon B. White
Trepidatio Publishing (October 15, 2021)
108 pages; $12.95 paperback; $5.95 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann
An unusual horror story set during a global pandemic, Rookfield hits close to home.
A man named Cabot, seriously lacking in self-awareness and full of privilege, is looking for his son and estranged wife in a small town called Rookfield. Leana apparently fled to the small town under marital duress. It’s suggested that perhaps Cabot and Leana didn’t see eye to eye when it came to the ways they would be handling the pandemic and the protection of their son’s health and safety.
Cabot finds himself in the center of some unusual circumstances but, honestly, they are of his own making. Narrated by a character who views the world through his own skewed lens, the book forces the reader to filter Cabot’s experiences through a fact check.
Once Cabot is reunited with his family, the question lingers heavy in the air: Will he learn to accept things the way they are or will he continue to believe his own narrative and risk everything? In contrast, Rookfield citizens take the pandemic very seriously but there’s something just below the surface that has nothing to do with the current health crisis.
White spins a truly compelling yarn but by the end of this story, I was left wanting more. While I appreciated the way the author crafted an eerie atmosphere layered with unsettling dread, I was let down by ambiguity. I wanted to spend more time with the town of Rookfield and its strange citizens. I desired a backstory on the totems, maybe a detailed account of some folklore, or a tour of the township.
I will seek out other stories by Gordon B. White and I’m excited that I own As Summer’s Mask Slips and Other Disruptions. I would recommend Rookfield to horror fans that enjoy cultish, small-town horrors and eerie secrets.