Review: Whatever Remains Of Us In The End by Brandon Baker

cover of Whatever Remains of Us in the EndWhatever Remains Of Us In The End by Brandon Baker
Independently Published (March 2023)
132 pages; $10.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Haley Newlin

Power comes at a price in Brandon Baker’s Whatever Remains Of Us In The End, a supernatural thriller looming with feverish occult practices, the classic horror trope of “how far will you go to save those you love,” and lucid imagery reminiscent of the pulp horror era.

Whatever Remains Of Us In The End unfolds in Lincolnshire, a town plagued by tragedy and tales of the Maxim home, a supposed haunted house occupied by an alleged modern-day witch. Lee never believed those rumors. Selling natural herbs and oils and living in the woods doesn’t make someone a wicked witch. Lee always thought Caludie was nice. Years later, Lee and his friend Ethan, down on their luck, plan a home invasion that goes awry, and Lee comes face to face with the truth of the Maxim house.

Baker excelled in hooking this reader’s attention early on with an immediate introduction to the core tension of the novella. Body horror fans will appreciate the first 30 pages or so. Ick. Ick. Bloody brilliant. Kudos.

The man orchestrating the robbery, Hopper, and his gruff, criminally impulsive characteristics served as an excellent antagonist whose arc may be among the most satisfying I’ve read in horror fiction in a long time. This also demonstrates Baker’s mastery of merging genres: action thriller and supernatural horror.

While I enjoyed each of Baker’s characters, I would’ve liked to see more development in each, particularly Lee. The author features tidbits about Lee’s past, including a personal tragedy — dingding, another horror trope we love to see — but I wanted more. While the plot of Whatever Remains Of Us In The End felt strategically executed with an appreciation for the action-packed scenes and those that required a slower build of unease, the payoff for Lee didn’t hit home. I do not feel this was because of the ending selected for him, but the hasty dialogue didn’t allow pauses for internal thought and assessment.

Still, Brandon Baker’s Whatever Remains Of Us In The End is a body-snapping stylistic supernatural horror novella that subverts genre expectations. Darkly humorous with a biting edge, Baker delivers.

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