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Monday, August 20, 2012

The Well by Andrew Richardson

The summer is winding down and it's back to work (and school) for me in September. I've been catching up on reading and long overdue critiques while recovering from the cultmination of a year of finishing, revising and submitting two novels. And a bunch of shorts fiction and nonfiction. I've read several things by my friend and critique partner Andrew Richardson.

Andrew writes two kinds of horror: terrifying and very terrifying. The Well, just released from eTreasures, is not mythic or supernatural (his forte) but the realism puts it squarely in to the latter category.
I was riveted from beginning to end and, as is typical of most of Andrew's stories, haunted by it.

When beautiful heiress Connie Straker wakes from a drugged sleep, she has no idea why she is at the bottom of a dry well.  
Connie anticipates freedom when her prison floods, but is dismayed to find she remains a captive.  If she is going to escape, she must outthink two violent brothers with a grudge against her family, overcome wild animals and find a way through the cage barring her way.  
Connie’s best chance of freedom might lie with the college nerd who has had a crush on her for years.  But Julian is a creep who Connie despises and she has to decide whether to trust him.  Can he overcome his fear of the brothers and help her escape?  Or will her captors put a violent end to Julian’s efforts?  Will Julian take advantage of her desperation and make Connie’s life-or-death situation even worse?


Tear-blurred eyes blinked into darkness as Constance Straker turned a circle. Her palms pushed against the brickwork, and Connie's stomach churned.
She whimpered, and her head thumped.
I'm in a Goddamn well!
Connie ignored her pounding temples and stilled, forcing herself to calm. She turned, hands pressing against the bricks, feeling her way around the tight circle again.
Yes. It's a dried-up well. It must be!
She threw her head back and screamed; a yell of anguish and terror that bounced off the walls and echoed around her.
Connie swallowed back sobs and flicked a strand of hair from her face.
Remember. I must remember.
Lisa’s twentieth. The college gang was partyin’. I felt woozy. Then nothin’.
Some jerk tried to chat me up. Called me ‘Blondie’.
Connie leaned and bricks bit her back through her shirt. Her groan echoed around the well.
A hand went to her temple. Headache. Was I drugged?
Connie forced slow, deep breaths. Her fingers examined the stones, seeking handholds.
No. Nothin’ to cling onto.
She looked up.
Blackness. It could be worse. It could be full of water.
Connie’s sob choked a bitter laugh as she buried her face in both hands and cried.

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