By Jordan Gerdes
DISCLAIMER: I was provided an advanced copy of this book. I was under no obligations by any party to provide favorable reviews, promotion, or anything else. I was offered no monetary compensation for my work. Everything below is of my own accord.
A.A. Medina’s newest novella, Where Dragonflies Dance, brings the reader back to the familiar yet mysterious Claybrook County, the setting for his debut novella, Siphon. Once again, we are met with a broken character, this time in the form of Erik Haust, a recent amputee recovering from a devastating car accident. Even more devastating is the mysterious disappearance of his daughter, Melinda. The trail has gone cold, the police are out of clues, but Erik keeps seeing her everywhere.
Through four chapters, we follow Erik’s quest to solve the mysterious disappearance of Melinda and piece together an entire part of his life that has gone missing. In classic Medina fashion, this story is equal parts bleak and beautiful.
Medina’s style has grown since Siphon, putting the gore and gristle on the back burner, and instead delving into the depths of relationships, uncertainty, and the fears that plague parenthood.
Claybrook County, though only two novellas in, has begun to take shape as a Silent Hill meets Arkham, Massachusetts style region. A forgotten place, teeming with ancient secrets and unspoken evils. The thing I love most about Medina’s writing is the care that he puts into his characters. Much like Stephen King, his stories aren’t about an evil place, but rather about the flawed people that inhabit these broken places.
The loose threads that pervade through both Siphon and Where Dragonflies Dance also speak to Medina’s strengths, not simply picking up where the last ended, but weaving them together, like a thick fog.
Medina’s writing never ceases to floor me. His words and descriptions hold such an impossible weight, that one minute elates the reader, and the next leaves you breathless, as if your entire chest has been kicked in.
I remember reading Siphon in a single night, and it refusing to leave my mind for days following. I’m happy to say that Where Dragonflies Dance will haunt me for much longer, I am sure.
Where Dragonflies Dance releases Feb. 8th, from Aphotic Realm and is available on Amazon. Don’t miss this one. It is soul crushingly good.