Review: Next of Kin

Posted: June 15, 2015 by in Books We Love (5/5 single_star) Meta: Dan Wells, Horror, Short Fiction

With THE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND (Amazon) releasing tomorrow, I figured I’d draw your attention to a must-have novella from Horror author, Dan Wells. Set in his John Cleaver series, and during the events of THE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND, we have the novella NEXT OF KIN (Amazon).

From the moment I first began reading the John Cleaver novels, I was arrested by my curiosity for the series’ villains, the Withered (or Gifted, as they call themselves). These god-like beings are known and identifiable by what they lack, and that simple idea became such a compelling one that I often (all the time) wondered how THEY were seeing this story unfold.

NEXT OF KIN does exactly that. It puts readers in the head of one of the Withered.

Seeing as this is a novella, there isn’t a whole lot of slack I can pull on to explain what the story is about. What I can say is the main character is Elijah Sexton, and the thing he lacks is his mind–or better explained, his mind is constantly failing, and the only way to keep it active is to suck memories from the living and dead.

I love the concept. But it was the execution of the idea that was fabulous. If there is a feeling of jealousy I have for Dan Wells’ writing, it is in his ability to effortlessly relay a story to the readers. The emotions he evokes with very few words is one of his strengths, and something I feel he does better than most authors today. This ability and technique is of the utmost importance in a story like NEXT OF KIN. How Elijah’s emotions rule him–as a being whose memory is fleeting–is utterly compelling to read.

You've read John Cleaver before, yeah? Ever wonder what makes one of the Withered tick? This is it. A great novella from a great author. Don't miss it.

But perhaps the greatest reason to read this story is it’s tie-in to THE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND. Buy and read this novella, and then see it from John Cleaver’s PoV in the fourth John Cleaver novel tomorrow when you buy that book (and you should). They are perfect companions.

Not every author can write compelling short fiction set in their established universe. With NEXT OF KIN, Dan Wells not only succeeds, but shines and gleams like the sharpened edge of of knife.

I will be begging Dan to write more stories like this one.

  • Recommended Age: 15+
  • Language: Wells isn't much for swearing in his writing. This is pretty safe.
  • Violence: Well, yeah. When Wells actually lets the reader see the bodies on the floor, he does so with violent flair.
  • Sex: Nope

Check out Dan Wells’s guest post here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *