The Street Between the Pines

J.J. Alo

Publisher: SNE Horror Pages: 387 Price: (paperback) $15.99 ISBN: 9798218165369 Reviewed: June, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

J.J. Alo’s The Street Between the Pines combines science fiction and horror as monsters roam the streets of a small coastal suburb.

Folks are disappearing on rural Connecticut’s Hock Island. Even more disturbing, bodies are discovered torn to shreds. Meanwhile, Curtis and Amy Reynolds are trying to save their troubled marriage while raising a special needs child. It doesn’t help that Curtis suffers from PTSD after his Desert Storm deployment or that his job as a technical wiring expert takes him away from home weeks at a time.

After a slow beginning that introduces several minor characters and explains some of Curtis’s problems, Alo introduces a cornucopia of Gothic elements. As a rare hurricane lashes the Connecticut coast, strange beings terrorize the area. A pride of feral cats takes over the neighborhood; a mad scientist and his henchmen inhabit a warren of tunnels and laboratories where they have been performing gene-splicing experiments; and several of those unnaturally created monsters have escaped their cages and roam free.

After everyone else has abandoned the area in the storm’s wake, Curtis returns from a wiring job site hours away to save his family. Luckily, Amy and son are safe in her parents’ summer home several miles away, but Curtis—with his military experience and computer wiring knowledge —may be the only one capable of saving Connecticut, and, perhaps, the world from the evil creatures likely created in a government project.

No doubt the huge, blood-thirsty genetic monsters are intended to be the focus of the novel’s horror. However, where Alo excels in sending shivers through readers are the claustrophobic descriptions of Curtis making his way through the underground caverns and collapsing tunnels that honeycomb the island. Monsters are the stuff of myth and legend, but claustrophobia is nightmarishly real, and this aspect invokes a sense of dread.

Despite the book’s slow start, Alo’s story, an interesting blend of psychological insights and traditional horror, should satisfy fans of both.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Westbrook, Connecticut
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