Rob Watts‘ series, The Crooked Roads Through Cedar Grove is an ongoing project of combination novellas/albums by writer/composer Rob Watts. Each of the four titles is to be released in a limited edition of 250 signed and numbered volumes available until all 250 are sold out. At the conclusion of all four books the author is planning to compile all four into a bound edition.
After reading the first volume, Huldufolk, I was intrigued to see where volume two would lead. If you are expecting Crabapples to be a continuation of the first be forewarned, not only is it not, it bears little resemblance to volume one. However, this story is not without the requisite elements of good horror fiction. The end result is everything a reader of horror wishes it to be. As in the first novella, the story centers around a specific character, 17 year old Kathleen. In what starts out as an ordinary story of a troubled teen, the story spirals downward quickly into horrific turns upon nightmarish twists in the town where a trolley runs through the cemetery. What occurs is the stuff of teenage outcast nightmares compounded by the specter of every Halloween terror. When one finishes this story, is is by the sweet twist of the literary möbius strip that we are deposited right where we began.
From a musical standpoint, the accompanying CD is once again significantly different from the first outing. With Huldufolk, the CD was presented as though performed by the fictitious Icelandic Trance group The Traffic Lights, who themselves appear in that book. This time around, the music is described as a”soundtrack” and in that way it most amazingly succeeds providing the listener with an aural companion to terror.
Halfway through The Crooked Roads Through Cedar Grove saga, I am finding this an most satisfying and original project as a reader/listener. Rob brings a freshness of execution and style in both the written word and music that is just plain fun to read/listen to. Bringing them both together in a single ongoing project is just plain enjoyable as I wait to see what episode three brings.
For the purposes of full disclosure, this book was a review copy sent to SFSN. No other remuneration was given or implied.