I'm convinced that most people watch shows like The Jerry Springer Show and Hoarders so they can feel better about them selves. "Sometimes my house is a mess, but it's nothing like that one on Hoarders," we say. So the last thing I thought I'd question after reading Michaelbrent Collings's Strangers, is my skills as a father.
Seriously, that's what went through my mind. Collings is in the process of converting his large library of published works into an audiobook format. This is the second I've read/heard. It followed the pattern of his other book I read, The Loon, lots of gore, terrifying situations and we cannot forget the blood (heaven knows Collings doesn't...). ;)
I like Collings style. He knows how to pace a story. Sometimes the small details in the dialogue or the subtle descriptions have the most impact. The story revolves around a family trapped in what is normally their most safe environment, their house, but soon their home becomes a prison and we have no idea if anyone will leave alive. What I found interesting is the story could have been written without any of the gore, terrifying situations and the blood. The characters are deep enough--each with personal horrors in their own lives--that the revelations of those secrets could fill the pages of a novel. Of course, it wouldn't be a horror novel, but engaging, just the same.
So, how does all this make me question my skills as a father? Collings creates a family where they are basically strangers to each other. They go through the motions of a "normal" family, but that's all. I kept asking myself if I acted in a similar fashion, acting the part, going through the motions. Then all the mayhem begins and those thoughts took a back seat to the action.
I'd like to think I'm not that kind of a husband and father, but even the best husband and father can do more. So, if I wake up and my house is shut off from the outside world with a killer on the loose, I'd like to think I'll at least know more about my family as we run from room to room being scared to death.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18052867-strangers?from_search=true