Title: The Creek
Author: Rayne King
Release date: January 17, 2021
Source: Kindle Unlimited
‘The Creek’ is the debut novella by Rayne King, a great guy who I connected with over on Twitter, some time ago. I was immediately impressed with the cover that King shared and while I couldn’t get to it right when it came out, I knew I’d hop on this when I had a lull in my reading. Usually that’s when I’ve finished a really solid book and decide to chomp through a quick read in one sitting, before returning to the other long reads I have already started.
Funny enough, when I flipped to the first page and saw the layout, I wondered if Ross Jeffery had formatted this. Ross has formatted a number of my works (probably the last 6 or 7, I’d have to count!) and I was also pleased to see Ross had done the cover! So happy these two connected.
What I liked: I love wilderness/small-town based stories, and King has delivered there. We’re introduced to Wiley, a 17 year old man who lives in a beat up trailer with his alcoholic, corrections officer father. His mom split 6 years ago and has now started a new life, which leaves Wiley conflicted. Shortly into the story, a group arrives at the abandoned camping grounds near where he lives and he finds out that a religious group has purchased it.
King really did a great job of creating this care-free kid, who just likes to hang out with his dog at the creek. It’s at this location that he meets Ruby, the daughter of the religious groups leader.
I enjoyed the innocent first interaction they had and how the two of them are both conflicted with how their real lives are compared to how time seems to stop when they’re together.
What I didn’t like: I think a bit of what I struggled with was the fairly straight forward story that was told. While King doesn’t set out to recreate the wheel, there was nothing surprising or shocking. Ultimately, I struggled with believing Wiley was as innocent as he was portrayed, as once he starts attending the religious ceremonies, he willing takes drugs and him and Ruby start sleeping together. For a boy who couldn’t look at here a short time ago at the creek, things sure ramped up quickly. Which unfortunately made the final events a bit hard to comprehend, as I just didn’t know if Wiley would actually have it in him.
Why you should buy this: I also love finding and reading new authors and first releases and this was a really well done effort. King’s first release is in a subgenre of horror that can be tough to deliver in (coming-of-age) and I think he did an admirable job of crafting this story of Wiley and Ruby. Mileage will vary on this one, but if you’re looking for a quick, fun, religious novella, this will tick all of those boxes. It also comes with a bonus short story ‘Husk’ which was a fun read and while I won’t go into this one here, it definitely makes me excited to see how King will continue to evolve and grow with each new release.