The Switch House by Tim Meyer
The Switch House is Tim Meyer at his best, NOT because this novella is the pinnacle of his take on slasher-splat horror, but because it catches him (intentionally) locked-out of his usual blood-soaked grindhouse.
This adjustment demanded a psychological precision in the handling of a small cast of characters, where literal evisceration is swapped for the more painful cavities that form around invisible losses—and Tim nails it. Sacrificing a chicken or two on digital paper doesn’t result in a win of this magnitude, and it was no surprise to learn that (simplifying) personal experiences helped form this beautifully-cut gem.
For those who want a blood-soaked and amusing companion to Kill Hill Carnage—and who doesn’t?—I will note that The Switch House represents an author spreading his wings into new areas. So, while Kill Hill Carnage hearkens to the tongue-through-cheek slasher films of the 90s, readers of The Switch House can anticipate sliding greasily through a more cerebral afterbirth, one flavored with hints of Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen.
All of which is a good thing, and The Switch House will, I think, mark a highlight in Tim’s future career. For long-time fans, it’s a great read, and I’d recommend they reset expectations, enter blind, and enjoy this gentle departure from Tim’s more gratuitously violent work (not that anyone in The Switch House is safe, but it’s not a bloodbath to the exclusion of all else).
Having finished Kill Hill Carnage a day or two before reading this, I enjoyed the tonal shift and physical-vs-psychological distancing that separates the two. So which is better? Hey, I’m not your priest… grab both, read both, and be prepared to call it a lovely tie between entries in different subgenres.
PS—The author’s note expands on the real-world family involvement, and, a trio of enjoyable, bite-sized short stories follow, too.