Review: Violet by Scott Thomas

Book Cover for VioletViolet by Scott Thomas
InkShares (September 24, 2019)

446 pages; $17.99 paperback; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

Did Scott Thomas peek inside our horror-loving brains while we weren’t looking and use what he found there to write the most appealing book just for us? He might have. In fact, the more I sit here with all my review notes, the more I’m convinced he overheard us talking about all our favorite things to read about and he used ALL OF THEM in this one book: Violet.

Of course I’m kidding. It’s abundantly clear that Scott Thomas just intuitively knows what horror fans want. His debut novel, Kill Creek, is evidence of that.

Last year, Kill Creek descended upon us like a madman wielding a knife. There was nothing any of us could do but willingly fall victim to the story—let it swallow us whole and leave us wanting more. Violet could very well be the most anticipated horror novel of 2019, and with such high expectations, is it even possible Scott Thomas could deliver? It’s this reader’s opinion that he more than delivered—he managed to set the bar even higher.

Violet opens with the description of an idyllic small town named Pacington. It might not be the wholesome, quaint vacation destination it appears to be. Perhaps something sinister resides here. As soon as we meet our protagonist, Kris Barlow, and her story begins to unfold, I got some serious slow-burning, gothic horror vibes.

Kris is a woman suffering through immense emotional trauma and grief. She is taking an extended holiday away from work to bring her daughter Sadie to her childhood summer house in Pacington. To the average reader, this doesn’t sound like a recipe for Kris to wind up with sustained mental health and well-being, but to the seasoned horror fan, this is the perfect set up for delicious horror. An unstable protagonist trying to overcome the nightmarish pain of unbearable grief in a suspicious town with a dark past? Unputdownable nightmare fuel.

This is where I must talk about how satisfying it is to read about characters restoring old, abandoned, spooky buildings. It is pure joy to read about the floors getting scrubbed clean, cobwebs coming down, windows getting washed—all the while knowing in the back of your mind that none of this surface-level restoration can fix a paranormal infestation or mental disrepair. 

But it is entertaining to be a fly on the wall as the characters seem very distracted by all their hard work. The creeping dread and tension just continues to grow, fester, and rot around the edges of this story until the reader is held in captivated suspension until the very last page. Violet has some of the most compelling storytelling I’ve read in a long time. 

My favorite parts are when Kris and Sadie venture into town to get ice cream or make a trip to the bookstore—the encounters she has with the locals are like gathering up the author’s breadcrumbs. I savored every bit of mystery and intrigue. 

Is it too soon to start pining away for the next Scott Thomas book? Not for this fan. I’m here for whatever fresh horror this author conjures up for his readers.

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