The Gulp by Alan Baxter is a collection of five eerie and brutal horror shorts that are all set in the same small coastal town. Prepare yourself before diving into this one… Hopefully The Gulp will spit you out on the other side.
For those of you that have had the chance to read this one, I hope my photo makes you chuckle 🙂
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.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on The Gulp by Alan Baxter
Each story is set in The Gulp, a small coastal town that we learn in the first story, is rumored to be a bit cursed.
At first, readers may side with the first character we meet that thinks his leg is being pulled, but with each story, we get deeper and deeper into the unsettling and dangerous town.
Each story stands alone just fine, but they each build upon the other with a ton of cross over. Take one small example, in the first story we see a man meet his end. In other stories, we see missing posters for that man. I loved seeing each of these tie ins when they happened and there were more and more of them as it went on!
Alan Baxter has created such a vivid town here. From the coast line to the shops, and even the many characters, this world building is incredible.
Here are my quick notes and thoughts on each story. If you’d like to avoid any slight spoilers, please stop here.
Out on a Rim – Five Stars
When a man named Rich goes on a delivery run with an older man who is about to retire, things go a bit awry. Not heeding the old man’s warning, Rich goes out on the town while the old man stays in the truck. The old man warned Rich that this town is dangerous, but Rich chalked it up to new employee hazing. After dark, Rich is about to learn just what this town holds.
This story was very unsettling! There was one scene with an eyeball that’s going to stick with me for a very long time. Phew!
Mother in Bloom- Five Stars
Two teenagers that had been taking care of their sick mother for years suddenly don’t know what to do when she passes away. Neither sibling is particularly broken up about it as things had been rough for awhile. Instead of reporting the death to anyone and risking losing the house, the keep quiet. But something is happening to the body, and they need to move quickly.
This story was equally heartbreaking and terrifying. My goodness the mental picture a lot of the description in this story caused. Eek! I would have so been out of there.
The Band Plays On – Four Stars
When a group of four on a backpacking trip stop into a local bar to see a band play, they are immediately mesmerized by the music. When the show is over and the lead singer invites them all to an after party in The Gulp, they can’t say no. Soon, one of the group realizes something is wrong but it’s already too late.
This was so eerie. All the red flags were there but they were so easy for the others to overlook.
48 To Go – Five Stars
When a drug deal goes wrong, Dace has forty-eight hours to somehow get the money to repay the buyer before his boss offs his entire family. With a rumor that a rather eccentric couple is sitting on a ton of cash, Dace decides robbery is his best bet. But he has no idea what he’s about to find behind the walls of the home with cages and cages of guinea pigs in the yard.
This one was so disturbing! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse after the kitchen… it did. This was another one that made me cringe a lot! Especially the living room scene, my god.
Rock Fisher – Four Stars
When a rock fisher snags his line on something, a little voice inside his head tells him to reel in in carefully rather than cutting the line and taking a loss. What he pulls in, he decides to take home. But something is very off here…
Right from the first instance of the burning sensation here, I was out. Touching something and having a reaction absolutely terrifies me, forget touching something unknown! And that ending!!!
My Favorite Passage from The Gulp
The heat grew in Patrick, spreading through his body like ink dipped in water.
My Final Thoughts on The Gulp
These stories were so much fun! I would love to see more in the future. I loved that there were so many additional characters that popped in and out, Alan Baxter could certainly cover a lot more ground here. I also really need to know what was up with the egg…
If you enjoy horror shorts, this is a must read! Enjoy!
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Thank for reading!
And major thanks again to Alan Baxter for sending me a copy of this one!