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Short story review: "By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain" by Joe Hill

Joe Hill's latest Kindle single, which hit the market today, centers around a couple of kids who come across the carcass of a local legend that acts as an expy of the Loch Ness Monster while playing near a lake.

It's established early on that the kids all have a rather active imagination. The story opens with one of the girls pretending to be a robot and then they pretend to find the wreckage from a shipwreck. It was a great way to establish characters, but I was honestly expecting the big reveal to be that the creature itself was the product of their imagination. No one else really reacts to it and even the other kids shrug it off despite looking right at it.

That theory does get tossed out the window by the story's end. While what happens makes for a great "wham" moment, I'm not sure how much sense it makes. The creature was clearly dead and from what had been described, it was pretty grisly. I'm not sure how it was still alive, unless we're talking about some sort of undead monster?

The story also has a fairly abrupt end. It would have been nice to see other characters reacting to what was unfolding, but such is not the case.

The child characters are all likable and they play well off each other. While the story is light on conflict, the interactions between the kids make up for it and it makes for a rather fun read. Alas, I can't say the same thing for the parents. I get that Gail's mom is exasperated, raising 4 kids and nursing a hangover, but she still came off as unnecessarily harsh. Threatening suicide and telling your kids to go drown themselves seems excessive, even if it is in jest. I don't know, maybe it's just me.

The story's fairly short so it makes for a brisk read and at only 99 cents, it won't take too huge a bite out of your wallet.

For those who enjoy the sneak peeks that are often featured in these singles, alas, there isn't one here. I figured that would be the case as it's still a bit early to start teasing "The Fireman", Hill's next novel. It would have made for a nice surprise, though. Still, the story is definitely worth checking out.

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