Kosa is a tale of hair, magic, and horror that will leave your heart heavy and your stomach churning.
Thank goodness our baby had me up every few hours while I was reading this. The lack of sleep prevented me from having longer nightmares thanks to this book. Well done, John!
There is a lovely content warning note at the beginning of the book directing readers to the back for more detail. This process is just perfection! Thank you DarkLit Press! For those curious before picking up a copy of the book, the content warnings include animal death, child death, cannibalism, emotional abuse, gore, murder, pregnancy, and violence.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Kosa by John Durgin –
Having just welcomed a baby into the world a few months ago at the time I read this, I fell right into these parents’ shoes at the start of the book. The poor woman… if my husband had dropped that truth bomb on me the day of the birth, I’m not sure I would have handled it nearly as well as she did, but I do know that arriving home from the hospital to a trashed place would have absolutely broken me! Of course, what happens next is so much worse.
Centering around an old woman who lives in a house in the middle of the woods, readers quickly learn that she is up to no good. Children keep going missing and no one seems to see the pattern. It’s children who arrive on vacation at a lake house who go missing, and their families either don’t make a fuss or wind up dead themselves.
What hold does this woman have over the area? And why won’t the young woman she keeps trapped in the house try to escape?
Readers are in for such a wild and terrible trip here. Every time I thought, “Oh no, we aren’t going there are we?” not only did John go there, but he went much darker than I could have ever imagined. One particular scene focused on a chimney is seared uncomfortably into my brain, and another scene looking through a keyhole has been on replay whenever I close my eyes.
To say things in this book are perfect nightmare fuel would be a massive understatement. The witch, the familiars, the grief, the Stockholm syndrome, the woods, the thin ice… it’s all perfectly terrifying. And that doesn’t even include what’s going on in the house… or the hair. My goodness, the descriptions of what happens to the hair…
I loved every second of this tale.
My Favorite Passages from Kosa –
*NOTE: SPOILERS IN QUOTES*
Proceed with caution.
He hated himself more every time he thought about what he was about to do, but what was new? He had the confidence of the weakest kid in gym class, dreading all the other bullies about to pepper him with dodgeballs.
He continued to speed up, the fog no longer scaring him the way it previously had. It was easy to look past things like that when real-life monsters were stalking you.
Heather was about to follow him but took one last glance back at the woods. An unsettling feeling came over her, and she didn’t know why. She stared into the darkness, half wanting something to show itself, so she didn’t feel crazy, and half wanting the feeling to just go away.
The charred, blackened body of Bryce swayed back and forth, hanging by the feet over the fire. His body slowly spun until his unrecognizable face stared back at her. She thought he was dead, and then he blinked, forcing sounds out of his shredded mouth. The low moans transitioned to an ear-piercing squeal. It was so loud that she didn’t hear the movement behind her.
“It’s time you learned what real punishment is, little girl…” She said it calmly, but that somehow made it even worse than when she yelled. The tone made Kosa feel as if thousands of invisible spiders were crawling across her skin.
If he thought it was cold in his bedroom, it was even worse downstairs. Maybe the central heating isn’t working? That wouldn’t explain the draft swirling around inside the house. His bare feet hit the kitchen tiles, and he thought sticking them in a mound of snow might be warmer.
Shadows danced around him, as if conspiring with the witch to stop him before he escaped.
The forest looked so beautiful from the attic window, but out here, it was terrifying. Every branch looked like a skeletal hand, reaching out for her with gnarled fingers. The frozen earth beneath her feet became treacherous, a mix of potholes and fallen limbs that threatened to trip her with each step.
My Final Thoughts on Kosa –
Horror fans…. Go grab this book immediately. The story is going to totally suck you in. Before you settle in to read with shaky hands, make sure you’ve locked all your doors and windows, and keep an extra eye on your kids and dogs!
And remember, don’t look the witch directly in the eyes!
Thanks for reading!