I Ain't Gonna Work On Maggie's Farm No More AKA a review of Our Behind The Barn by John Boden and Chad Lutzke
Out Behind The Barn is a joint venture from John Boden and Chad Lutzke about two little boys, loneliness, resurrection, and hoodoo.
Boden and Lutzke made a stellar team on this novella, they blended their writing styles seamlessly, and the story disturbs as much as it tugs at your heart. You can't help but get attached to the two little boys whose life is over all simple, and almost idyllic, apart from the new additions to Maggie's farm that being a strong sense of dread with them. Even Maggie herself is equal parts sympathetic and terrifying.
I absolutely love antagonists painted in shades of gray. A full blown, blatantly crazy/evil antagonist can be a lot of fun, and easy to hate, but a more subtle take never fails to thrill me, and Maggie is a prime example of how effective a more ambiguous villain can be. Maggie genuinely cares for the boys, and is incredibly protective, and while unnatural, her love doesn't smother, and her protection isn't abusive. Yet, what Maggie does is quite obviously evil, but it's hard to actually hate her given her backstory and likeability otherwise.
For such a slim book there is a great building of tension and dread, and slow unveiling of the truth about what's happening on Maggie's farm, with an ending that is beautiful and incredibly sad (although it really is a happy ending). This is one strong little book, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a different kind of horror story.