Kevin Lucia has been around the horror scene for a while. I bought a book from him at a Scares That Care show a couple of years ago. It's a collection called Things Slip Through. I meant to get to it by now, and as I pass by the shelf the book lies upon, it calls to me. Later, later, I think.

I don't mind reading trade paperbacks, but the aesthetics of reading a well-made hardcover enhances the experience for me. Cemetery Dance Publications has published a title from Lucia in their celebrated Novella Series (Number 28!). I bought it, and I made a point of getting to it fairly quickly.

Kevin Lucia is making a reputation as a horror writer, and Mystery Road is publicized as a horror story. But what is a horror story? Something that scares you? I didn't find Mystery Road to be frightening in the least, and I do not think Lucia intended it to be a scary story.

Mystery Road does deal with the supernatural, but rather than induce chills, this story is more likely to make readers think. Or perhaps feel. It's emotional, nostalgic, wistful, and it is full of possibilities.

A teen is making his way down a country road in his town one summer day. He's gone this way many times, but today he sees a road he has never noticed before. Intrigued, he decided to investigate. He discovers a strange house with an even stranger inhabitant. The experience leads him to revelations about his past, and possibilities about his future.

Lucia brings up the Twilight Zone toward the end of Mystery Road, but I already had been reminded of the groundbreaking show. Mystery Road is more of an imaginative story like Rod Serling would have presented than a shocking tale of horror. Closer to Bradbury than to Lovecraft.

I liked Mystery Road quite a lot. It's a nice, tight story, and while I complain about the overuse of novellas by today's writers, it's perfect at its hundred-page length.

Kevin Lucia is relatively new to publishing, and Mystery Road is a damned good landmark on his journey. It's the kind of story I like the best these days, and it should earn him a lot of fans.


Written by Mark Sieber

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