A huge thanks to Dave and crew over at #TheWriteReads for organising this book tour and to Matthew R. Davis and Grey Matter Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer. What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?
When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he’s drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s fresh introduction to her half-lit world is darkly appealing. Now faced with confusing quandaries—connection or convenience, relationship or exploitation—can he help any of the women in his life? Or is he just helping himself? The untold tragedies of Natasha’s lonely life may be more than he can handle. And in a town whose history is littered with dead girls, there may be no happy ending for anyone. A tar-black coming of age story, this gritty psychological thriller from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis, eloquently chronicles the crushing gravity of small-town hopelessness, the double-edged catharsis of sex, drugs, and heavy metal, and the brutal weight of youth’s first lessons in accountability.
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Length: 130 Pages
Publishing: 21st June 2022
I am writing this review straight after finishing the book and my emotions are all over the place so forgive me for my ramblings.
The Dark Matter of Natasha is narrated in first person and this sucked me into the dark world of teens sex, drugs, abuse and confusion. Davis captured the confusion and emotions of that age completely whilst delving deeper into the darker side. As an adult it was easy to sit here judging the main character and his thoughts and choices however, I fully imagine this is how the brain (and urges) of a 17 year old boy would likely work. What makes this more powerful is that it is being recounted by the character as a grown man and you can feel the regret and guilt coming through about his choices.
Initially I thought it was going to be a completely different book than it turned out but I am glad this story was told. There are children (despite their ages and what they get up to they are still developing children) who are so deeply affected by things they have seen or experienced and Davis captures this so raw and brutally in Natasha’s character.
The writing is elegant and beautiful despite the dark subject matter but in places it has a harshness about it that highlights the stark reality of the themes. At times it feels autobiographical, and I was so immersed I totally forgot I was reading a work of fiction.
I am sure in the days to come I will think of things I should have added or didn’t mention but I think this is a book that takes a lot of processing to digest. I was really involved in the two main characters, and I feel a little bereft and sad after reading – which means the author did an amazing job. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I adored this book. It’s deeply moving and haunting.
Author Bio – Matthew R. Davis
Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia.
His work has been shortlisted for, and sometimes won, the Shirley Jackson Awards, Aurealis Awards, Australian Shadows Awards, and the WSFA Small Press Award.
He plays bass and sings in heavy rock/metal bands such as icecocoon and Blood Red Renaissance, dabbles with poetry, video editing, and visual art, and works on projects with his photographer partner.
He is the author of Supermassive Black Mass (novelette, Demain Publishing, 2019), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (horror stories, Things in the Well, 2020) and Midnight in the Chapel of Love (novel, JournalStone, 2021).
He loves all kinds of metal from Mötley Crüe to Pig Destroyer and his favorite Slayer album is Seasons in the Abyss.
Find out more at www.matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com