The Conversationalist: Horrorstruck Novella One
Patrick Edwards meets Wendy at a get-together—a “matchmaking” opportunity, actually—arranged by Joseph and Anna, the only close friends he has on San Juan Island. A few months have passed, and Patrick still wonders why he wants to see her. The two go out to dinner. All Wendy talks about is her mom’s death. Patrick’s disinterest shows when he attempts to change topics. Realizing that he has had enough of Wendy’s depressing gobbledygook, Patrick abandons her at the restaurant. Nonplussed, he receives a harassing phone call a few days later. Thinking that it is a way—an odd one albeit—for Wendy to express her anger over his treatment of her at the restaurant, Patrick pushes the call to the back of his mind until he’s hit with a very disturbing chain of events.
Rising thriller author Justin Bog grabs readers’ attention from the get-go. The first in hopefully several Horrorstruck Novellas, The Conversationalist is the type of story that if Alfred Hitchcock were alive and his TV show, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962-1965), was still up and running, he’d snatch Bog’s script as fast as he could and turn it into a featured vignette. At the forefront of Bog’s elusive writing style is his combination of suspense/thriller set in a realistic setting—everyday people, everyday situations, authentic places. In the case of The Conversationalist, the location is on the islands just beyond the Puget Sound region in the state of Washington.
Next on the writing style list are Bog’s characters. His cast is defined, but only to certain points, which leaves audiences with niggling thoughts about the characters’ dubious qualities. Designing his story in first person point of view, Bog’s narrator is undoubtedly Patrick. Bog uses a three-fold tool of Patrick’s unsettling train of thought against superficial dialogue amid an obscure cast to build tension. Bog then rolls the tension into suspense by placing his three-fold tool into shifting scenes. And much like Hitchcock’s mastermind method, Bog’s ending is a true shocker.
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