Epeolatry Book Review: When it Rains by Mark Allan Gunnells
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Title: When it Rains
Author: Mark Allan Gunnells
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Genre: LGBTQ+ Horror
Release Date: 25th March, 2022
Synopsis: It may be dangerous to go out in the rain…
But it may be even more dangerous to stay inside.
Just after noon on a sunny spring day at Friedkin University, a layer of strange clouds smudges across the sky, and a mysterious rain begins to fall. This isn’t just a surprise spell of rain—this substance is slimy and gelatinous…and it’s not letting up any time soon.
The rain spreads across the country, the hemisphere, and the globe, with growing ripples of panic and paranoia gathering behind it. Is it a natural, undocumented phenomenon? A chemical weapon? Some kind of bacterial contagion? As fear turns theories into conspiracies and no clear answers are given, factions start to form between those who have been exposed to the rain and those who stayed dry. Who is safe? Who is marked? Who is dangerous, and who is not?
The rain keeps falling, and at Friedkin University, the sanctuary of the campus bookstore swiftly becomes a dangerous battlefield. Is it man versus nature? Or man versus man?
When it Rains is a perfect read for fans of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Nick Cutter, or books like One Rainy Night by Richard Laymon, Bird Box by Josh Malerman, and Rain by Joe Hill, and even movies like Night of the Living Dead and The Thing.
When it Rains is an intriguing thriller horror that owes a lot to Stephen King’s “The Mist”. The comparison is impossible to avoid, but Gunnells does an excellent job of pulling the rug out from under the reader and creating a story wholly his own. The tension is high throughout and I read this novella quickly, eager to see what happened to my favourite characters.
Unfortunately, the story suffers from the same premise that carries it. As with King’s The Mist, this novella features a group of near strangers trapped together during a mysterious weather phenomenon. One voice rises above the rest and fuels only division and violence. Peppered with references to the coronavirus and segregation, the book at times is a little too on the nose with its social commentary.
Another element holding the story back is the overwhelming number of characters to track. While several were well-developed and I cared about them, there were too many to properly track. There is also a relationship between a young man and an older professor that feels out of place.
Overall, the story is a fun read and I always appreciate an ending that catches me off-guard.
Available from Amazon.
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Melody lives in Ontario, Canada and writes short, dark fiction. She has been published in several anthologies and online publications. In university, she studied Ancient Greek and Roman Studies and often infuses her work with elements of Greek mythology. She also loves reading, embroidery, and martial arts. You can follow her homepage at: https://www.blog.melodyemcintyre.com/