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September 30, 2017

Review: Florida Gothic by Mitzi Szereto

by MK French

Ernesto Martinez was an older man of Cuban descent living in Miami, going about his business from day to day until he was killed in a hit and run accident. His spirit still lingered, leaving him to ponder the turns his life had taken, and all of the losses he suffered. Gradually, he realized that it wasn't fair, and he now had an opportunity to enact justice in a way that life had never given him.
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Florida Gothic
July 2017; Strange Brew Press; 978-1545241653
ebook, print (150 pages); horror
The book starts out slow, with a lot of little details about Ernesto's life in Miami. It's almost like the literary equivalent of hazy air over hot asphalt on a summer day.

When Ernesto gets hit by the car, however, the story slides sideways into the odd gothic world of the title. He doesn't die, after all, and continues to rot. He gets his own kind of justice for his daughter's hit and run death years before, which is described in grisly detail, and his own assailant gets his comeuppance as well.

All of the characters, from the lowlife drug addicts to the retired judge, have aspects of their lives drawn out in detail. Sometimes it isn't even immediately obvious why that's important, but it adds to the atmosphere and eventually, the reader realizes why they're interconnected.

It makes for a very haunting kind of story, graphic but not quite horror either. Most horror novels involve demons or spirits and ramp up the psychological terror. This one remains morose at times as we follow Ernesto's thoughts through his past and the drive that pushes him forward in his un-life.

This is described as the start of a gothic series, and I can see how the same gloomy atmosphere can easily be found in other kinds of places besides Florida. I'm not sure how the novel would be classified, but Amazon classifies it as Gothic genre fiction, supernatural suspense and horror literature. This definitely fits the bill and leaves me a bit shaken by the imagery. It's a macabre tale told very well.

Buy Florida Gothic at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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