‘The Reach’ by Nate Kenyon

  Horror writer Nate Kenyon’s first work, “Bloodstone,” was compared to Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot.”
  With his sophomore work, “The Reach,” Kenyon taps King’s “Firestarter.”
  Sarah Voorsanger, 10, has been locked away in a psych ward for most of her life. The girl’s unusual psychokinetic abilities scare her family, and they sign over guardianship after deciding she’s too much to handle and is possibly evil.
  At the Boston institute, Sarah is diagnosed as schizophrenic, at least on paper. Dr. Evan Wasserman, her primary caretaker, keeps her drugged up so she doesn’t hurt herself or others.
  “Sarah began to believe … still believes … that she could influence people. That she could bend things to her will. Fantasies of omnipotence are not uncommon — again, this stems from early childhood — but in Sarah these fantasies extended far beyond the normal stages. And then the phobias and the suicide attempts began. Recently she has grown so uncontrollable that we’ve had no choice but to confine her to the basement for good portions of the day. She fought us by withdrawing in her therapy sessions and refusing her medication. She hasn’t spoken a word in over three months now.”
  To draw Sarah out of her almost catatonic state, her doctors bring in psychology grad student Jess Chambers. They hope a fresh face will draw Sarah out of her silence and encourage her to re-engage with her doctors.
  Little does Jess know that she isn’t being given all the facts. She begins to believe the institute does not have Sarah’s best interest at heart and tries to help the girl, who has come to the attention of people who want to use her powers for their own profit.
  A lot of people raved about Kenyon’s “Bloodstone.” I gave it a less-glowing review, but didn’t think it was a stinker. The same can be said for “The Reach.”
  I liked “The Reach” better than “Bloodstone.” It’s a good story. I liked Sarah and was interested in what was going to happen to her. I just felt like I’d read this story before.
  I can’t help but think Kenyon would benefit from laying off the Stephen King themes. Kenyon can write a horror novel. He has demonstrated that. He just needs to come up with more original ideas. Of course, that can be said about practically every current writer in the genre. Putting a different spin on an older story is nothing new in publishing.
  Kenyon does keep getting better, though. His next book, “The Bone Factory,” comes out in July. I’m sure I’ll pick it up because I’m always an optimist when it comes to horror novels. And as long as Kenyon keeps getting better, I’ll go along for the ride.

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