Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals every dared to dream before...-- Edgar Allen Poe,The Raven
The Bird Eater is an effective measure of horror and suspense, opening with a potent first chapter describing the gruesome background of the 'haunted' house that could, if anything, be merited a five-star all on its own.
Ahlborn uses iconic psychological bits from well-loved Hitchcockian thrillers like
She screamed against the onslaught of beaks jabbing at her arms, her breasts, her legs, back of her head.
Soft whispers sounded from behind the shower curtain, like someone fluttering their fingers against the draped plastic that hung from the rod...There was someone behind the curtain; he was certain of it.
--and blends in a traumatized protagonist whose mental stability is as questionable as the unnamed narrator in Fight Club-
--to create an effectively chilling concoction.
We all go a little mad a little...
Plotlines aren't purely original nor over-the-top gory, although some scenes do have their share of sanguineousness. Ahlborn keeps an even-handed exchange between supernatural beliefs and the reality of hereditary mental illness, while controlling suspense at a strongly pulsating pace.
This was my first read from this goth-promising author whose other works I would definitely consider. Excerpts from her previous book The Shuddering follow my kindle copy of The Bird Eater and seem worth pecking at.