Slattery Falls by Brennan LaFaro is an eerie, tension-filled tale about three friends that have an interest in the paranormal. As the three break in to haunted places, their bond with one another gets stronger. But something else has its eye on them… and it’s about to make itself known.
This is a ghost story that you don’t want to miss!!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way. I also have my copy preordered!
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Slattery Falls by Brennan LaFaro
When Travis, a college student who is a bit sick of the day-to-day college life, goes to talk to the one non-drunk attendee at a party one night, he meets a man named Josh. Soon, the two become close friends that seek out thrills outside of getting drunk and watching tv in between classes.
And what was that thrill? Breaking into places that are rumored to be haunted!
On their first trip together, they see something unexplainable. Totally spooked, they don’t talk about it for months. Eventually, Travis realizes that he has been thinking about it daily ever since, and when he finally brings it up to Josh, they decide to visit another location. But this time, a third person tags along, Josh’s cousin, Elsie. And just like that, the duo becomes a trio and they travel all over New England to visit new locations, hoping they will see or hear spirits. It’s all fun and games until suddenly, it isn’t…
Have you ever finished a book and immediately started it over again? For the first time in my reading experience, that’s what happened here. I loved absolutely everything about it. When I hit the final page, I just didn’t want to step out of the story yet!
These characters — Travis, Josh, and Elsie — seemed so real! From their relationships and banter with one another to the way they were able to just understand what each other needed at any given time was wonderful. I loved seeing their relationships change over time as well.
I really enjoy Brennan’s writing style. I can hear a lot of his voice come through in it, especially in his dialogue. I also really liked that he added in references to horror related pop culture and sprinkled in some clever foreshadowing. There were some instances that were small, but really boosted the creep factor later on, while other bits of foreshadowing were more obvious as the narrator called it out.
Brennan’s work with pacing here was brilliant. It ebbed and flowed like the tide; slowing down as the tide receded, just to surge forward and crash along the shore with intensity. And just like the ocean, some waves were bigger than others.
In ghost stories, the slow build in tension is one of my favorite elements and Brennan knocks it out of the park here. There were so many scenes that were already a bit eerie to begin with — like walking down a hallway, opening a door, pulling back a shower curtain — and he just slowly adds more and more to it as the scene progresses.
In this build, Brennan is also able to cut the tension with just one line or one humorous event every now and then to keep readers on their toes. There’s one scene where the trio are in a home getting ready to see if they can communicate with any spirits, and lights from a passing car shines through a window and spooks two of the characters. This made me laugh as I would definitely have been one that got spooked. That scene momentarily lightened things up before we dove right back into the action.
And at that, I will leave the rest of the magic to you! I have noted a few of my favorite passages below, but this certainly wasn’t all of the things I highlighted. There were so many other amazing passages, but they strayed into spoiler-territory, so I have left them out.
My Favorite Passages from Slattery Falls
When you’re about to investigate one of the most notoriously haunted houses on the east coast, there are certain expectations. One revolves around thunder and lightning—the dark and stormy night trope. Yet there we were, traveling to the Weeks House in the middle of a cool, quiet August day. No sound. No fury.
The shadows, which hadn’t grabbed my attention before, were creeping across the floor. I attempted to step around them because, at that moment, I convinced myself something lived in that darkness.
Near the pool was a swing set that had seen better days. If this were a movie, the swings would have moved on their own, filling the air with some hearty creaks. However, it was a stagnant, humid July night, and those swings didn’t any any stir in them.
It didn’t take long to search everywhere, including behind the shower curtain. Let me tell you, pulling that back nearly sparked an arrhythmia, and the honor was all mine. Thankfully, the result didn’t end up like the bathroom scene in The Shining.
“Stick together, don’t steal, ‘husky’ means we bail, and don’t talk about fight club. Does that do it?” I asked.
My Final Thoughts on Slattery Falls
This is Brennan’s debut novel and you would never guess that was the case. Everything about this story is perfect. The storyline flows so well, the pacing is great, the characters seem like your real-life best friends, and the plot is killer!
Don’t wait. Bump this one to the top of your TBR right away and make sure to go preorder your copy if you’re seeing this before the launch date, July 20th 2021!
Snag a copy through Bookshop to help support local indie bookshops:
Thanks for reading!
Shout-out to Brennan for including me in the acknowledgements section! I’m so honored to call Brennan a friend!
And don’t let the fact that we’re friends tell you I’m exaggerating with my words here. Brennan, a reminder to you Sir, that I promise I’m not blowing smoke! I am much more of a critic when it comes to my friends because I want to push them to be the best that they can be.
Of course, I needed a paperback copy on my shelf! LOVE the new cover!