In this novella, Ania Ahlborn tells the story of an unattractive young woman, Nell, living in Brooklyn, NY with her elusive brother, Barrett, during the 70s when the infamous Son of Sam was on the loose. Because of a childhood trauma, Nell’s older brother no longer speaks. He communicates with her by writing notes on post-its, often leaving them throughout their little apartment for her to find. Nell supports her brother’s dream of becoming a writer, allowing him to sit at home while she works in a busy office in Manhattan. She is invisible and often the brunt of her much prettier coworkers cruel comments and jokes. She desires to blend in (cue the music from Stephen King’s, Carrie), but Nell is socially awkward, to say the least. Soon, Nell’s coworkers become the target of a psycho loose in NY. Is it the Son of Sam or someone closer to home?
“The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.” –Robert Bloch
I loved the Robert Bloch quote the author used before she begins the story. It really set the tone. Ania Ahlborn gives a great depiction of NY during the seventies era, and does an excellent job at showing the reader just how unstable, the lead character is. The story is quite captivating, but unfortunately, no big mystery here. I also didn’t sympathize with Nell as much as I would have liked to. The ending was exciting but felt a bit rushed.
I am a fan of the author, have been ever since I read her debut, Seed (now there’s a great story)! I am looking forward to her novel, Brother, due to be released September 29th.