Chopping Spree – Novella Review

It’s that time of the week: review time!

But first let me remind you that Howls from Hell is available for purchase and it is home to my sci-fi horror tale: “Manufactured God”! If you enjoy my writing, this is definitely one anthology you should grab a copy of!

Now onto the review!

The Author

Author Pic 2

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. 

– Sylvaine’s website

I’ve actually met Angela Sylvaine in person! We read together at the Terror at 5280′ event in Denver and she is just as sweet as she looks in her photo! She gave me a cough drop at the event before my reading. I still think of that at every event I participate in now.

A North Dakota native (that’s practically Canada!), Angela writes mainly in the horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and YA genres. The novella I am reviewing today, Chopping Spree, is her debut novella but has published quite a few short stories in various magazines and anthologies (we share table of contents in both Terror at 5280′ and Consumed: Tales of the Wendigo!).

Currently she lives on the front range of the Rockies with her husband and three cats. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers.

The Novella

Eden Hills, Minnesota is famous for one thing—its ’80s inspired Fashion Mall. When high school junior, Penny, lands a job at one of its trendy stores, she notices her teen coworkers all wear a strange symbol they won’t explain. Suspicious but wanting to belong, she agrees to stay after closing for a party in the closed store. Her fun turns to terror when Penny discovers a mortally wounded boy and learns there is a killer loose in the mall. Soon the teens are running for their lives.

– Amazon landing site

Chopping Spree is part of the Rewind or Die series published by Unnerving and was released April 1st, 2021. It follows what should have been a typical work day for teenaged Penny, working at a clothing store in the huge mall — the one highlight of the tiny town she lives in. Penny has typical dreams and desires: she wants her crush to notice her and to work at the same place with her best friend.

But this day turns out to be different after she bumps into a man wearing a wolf man who warns her to get out, then her coworkers invite her to drink after hours with them, though they are rather close-mouthed about the matching symbol they all wear. When all hell breaks loose, Penny learns that not everything is what it seems at the mall.

The Review

What a delightful, thrilling romp! I actually ended up finishing this novella in one sitting, it just swept me away. Part of this was due to how well paced the novella was, pumped full of action and tension. Despite this, it still managed to maintain a level of depth similar to a novel. Another strength Angela has is her ability to create such realistic and compelling characters.

Not only was the plot a lot of fun but I couldn’t have imagined a better ending than what it has — an amazing and complete package of fun chills.

This novella really felt like a perfect 90s throwback, complete with a songlist that accompanied the action. Also let me call out how much I loved the classic 90s cover, so similar to those of Christopher Pike’s!

Honestly, this has to be one of my favourite novellas of all time and I am glad I went ahead and asked for a signed copy! I can’t wait to see what Angela produces next!

10/10

Until next time!

x PLM

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