True Crime: Novella Review

Hello, hello!

I wanted to let you, yes you, know about my two new designs I have up in my Threadless shop! Let me introduce my wolf skull design. Here it is featured on a tank, but you can get it on sweatshirts, journals, tote bags, and more:

Next is my ethereal wolf moon phases design. Below, you can see it on a t-shirt, but it’s available on mugs, bags, journals, and more.

Now onto the review! Just a warning, there are minor spoilers in here!

The Author

True Crime by Samantha Kolesnik - Horror Oasis

Samantha Kolesnik‘s short fiction has appeared in magazines such as The Bitter Oleander, The William and Mary Review, and Barnstorm. Her debut novella True Crime, which is the one I am reviewing today, was published January, 2020. Besides fiction, she writes screenplays, some of which have been recognized at top genre film festivals. She is also an award-winning director.

Her film, Mama’s Boy, premiered at the Telluride Horror Show and has been a hit on the film festival circuit playing at Boston Underground Film Festival, Ithaca Fantastik, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, Nightmares Film Festival, and more.

She is also one of the co-founders of the Women in Horror Film Festival and has served as a panelist, guest juror, and volunteer at several events.

The Novella

Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in a town where the stars don’t shine at night. Once the abuse becomes too much to handle, the two siblings embark on a sordid cross-country murder spree beginning with their mom. As the murder tally rises, Suzy’s mental state spirals into irredeemable madness.

True Crime Amazon landing page description

True Crime is a dark, brutal novella about a young girl named Suzy who is routinely abused by her mom and murders her to escape the abuse. She then hits the road with her brother, going on a killing spree, before a jump to the future sees a young adult Suzy trying to find her place in the world. As a novella that delves into the impacts of childhood trauma including sexual and physical abuse, this isn’t a novella for the faint of heart.

The Review

A debut with the power of a nuclear bomb. Ranks alongside Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door and J. F. Gonzalez’s Survivor.

Brian Keene, author of The Rising

Going into reading this novella, I knew it was supposed to be dark and violent. The intro throws the reader straight into the deep end with an encounter between the main character, Suzy, and her mom — as well as recollections of Suzy’s sexual assault at the hands of her mother. The novella dives deep into what can happen to a child’s growing mind when exposed to abuse, meaning it is a bleak and hopeless a novella as you can imagine.

With a main character like that, you’d think that the reader would be able to feel some sympathy or empathy for her and her struggles to find her place in the world, but I didn’t. The way Suzy is portrayed, she’s written to be completely lost already so there’s no hope for her turning it around and she isn’t very likeable at all.

Added to that, a lot of her internal thoughts are melodramatic and self-centred, which made her even less interesting to me.

The ending was also disappointing and underwhelming, falling flat rather than ending with a bang. There were definitely parts of Samantha’s writing that were poignant, but most of that drowned in the rest.



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