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5.0 out of 5 starsThis one really will make you sleep with the lights on.
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2014
Compelling. Easy-to-read. Well-told. Genuinely frightening. Ecstasy Of Death: Nicole is a story of a small-town serial killer's encounter with a friendly, small-town girl at the local grocery store, and what happens next. Readers who are familiar with Joel M. Andre's novels and short stories know that in the past he has employed a shotgun approach to storytelling: throwing villains and monsters onto the page, boldly, confidently, humorously, occasional with less emphasis on structure than some would prefer. Ecstasy Of Death: Nicole is different. In a brilliant way. It seems to begin a new chapter in Andre's work. Ecstasy Of Death: Nicole is subtle, well-edited, consistently paced and thoroughly frightening. The violence is less graphic and the horror (perhaps for this reason) is magnified times ten. Steady and discomforting, Ecstasy Of Death: Nicole is a short piece – a good length for one or two sittings just before bedtime – and a promising start to what I hope becomes a compelling psychological thriller. Yes, there's a tiny bit of humor – as I always expect and appreciate in Andre's work -- however, the smile lines in this story are so faint, so well-threaded into the narration, the story's tone never suffers. The story sticks to a mood of horror that never lets up. The result is a thorough fright. I'm looking forward to seeing how this story continues and who will put this particular criminal behind bars.