Courtesy of Cemetary Gates Media

I’m a huge book nerd. I have been since I was a kid. As a young child, I had terrible sleeping problems but was always a fast reader. My parents took me to the doctor and he said,” Just get her more books to read. She reads a little at night, it will help her go to sleep.” 

So, my parents bought me a set of great classics and, when they woke up the next morning, I had gone through all of the books. My mom made me re-read everything.

So, I’m always so happy when my brain can gobble down books from all genres:  True Crime, Horror, Sci-fi, Young Adult, History and glorious smutty-ass Romance. Good or bad, we should always be reading. It’s good for the heart and mind.

THE THRUMMING STONE by John Brhel and Joe Sullivan is a piece that has made me feel a variety of things. While I liked it, I did not love it. I would describe my feelings similar to the kind of liking where you hold hands with someone under the table, too embarrassed to show how much you like them. It’s a short story that dreams of being a grand saga.

The story is told from the perspective of a young man, young enough to enjoy the trappings of youth but not yet too cool to chase adventure when it comes thrumming into his mind. Meet Joey, a guy who’s dealing with an absentee father and is just trying to do his best given the circumstances. There is a mother who is gone and Joey is primarily left with his older sister, Jenny. Throughout the course of the book, Jenny is portrayed as a bit immature and very much a pain in the ass. 

The two of them begin what is to be a roller-coaster series of events on a snowy day with a vintage sled. Faster and faster, they are swept down the hill and across a frozen river to the other side. Cracks and their nerves prevent them from going back, but that does not stop them from finding another way home.

A noise from the woods carries them into an area that feels miles away and in the middle of nowhere even though, as Joey describes in the book, they are only really about a ten-minute walk from their home. They happen on to a large stone that is reminiscent of Stonehenge. Petroglyphs and strange writing cover the stone and their curiosity overtakes them, pulling them close to the Stone.

Both end up touching the Stone and this vibrating thrumming engulfs their bodies and minds, sending both of them into a semi-conscious state. Images of gruesome deaths and apocalyptic images fill their heads as they both lay twitching on the snowy ground.

As they come to, the realization of what they have seen sets in. Jenny brushes it off but, for the remainder of the book, it will stay at the forefront of Joey’s mind.

Throughout THE THRUMMING STONE, there are some really lovely images that accompany each chapter. They have the same feel of Stephen Gammell who illustrated the original Scary Stories books. As lovely as they were, it felt a little disjointed with the way the story was being told. 

It is like a journal of sorts, a remembering of a town’s catastrophic past and how a stone in the woods gave a glimpse of the future. So, parts of me wish there had been more of a journal or diary feel to it. Also, the pictures, as wonderfully depicted as they were, felt like they didn’t need to be there. I wanted the writer to trust the imagery that was provided in the story. It was strong and you have to trust that your audience is seeing what you have put down. Images are great, but what you have imagined is even greater.

Overall, I was interested to see the grander picture of what the relevance of the stone was. I wanted to see more of the impact it had on the town’s youth. It served its purpose in giving Joey and his friends a heads up so that he could prepare the masks and clothing that would ultimately save their lives, but also why show me the future if it can’t be changed?

THE THRUMMING STONE has a good foundation. There’s a nostalgic feeling of youth and that spirit of adventure that, if you’re young at heart, never really leaves you. It’s an appetizer of words, and I hope that any continuation or expansion of the story helps it to become the main course one day.

Kamarra Cole
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