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The Croning    by Laird Barron order for
by Laird Barron
Order:  USA  Can
Night Shade, 2012 (2012)
* * *   Reviewed by Wanda Plourde

Imagine being a Miller's daughter, wanting to be a queen at any cost. One who tells her future husband that she can make gold out of flax. So she is thrown into a dungeon with three months to fulfill her promise. No one but her brother the spy knows what has transpired. She makes a deal with a dark dwarf, who procures the gold that makes her Queen. If she can learn the dwarf's name after she gives birth she will not lose her child. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Only this time it's much more gruesome and scary.

Donald Miller is a geologist and an academic, who has married a beautiful woman and has twin children. Life for him is sometimes foggy; memories seem to stir at the edges of his mind but he never grasps them. He has been this way for most of his eighty years, and blames it on a mild case of dementia. But that is really not the case ... eventually the murky edges will become clearer and dark secrets will pour through. Secrets that it seems his wife has been keeping all these years. Truths that could not only harm him, but family and friends as well. Is there anything he can do to stop this onslaught?

After reading The Croning, the hair on my arms is still standing straight up. I found it totally creepy, a story to give readers a new perspective on things that go bump in the night. The author took an old fairy tale (that of Rumpelstiltskin) and twisted it into something downright terrifying. A first I found the story a bit confusing but it all came together with speed and accuracy. Excellent if you enjoy horror.

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