If you’re a fan of haunted house stories and scary movies and are looking for a gothic read with a gay protagonist, the upcoming short novel 324 Abercorn by Mark Allan Gunnells checks every box.
The story focuses on Brad, a horror author who moves into a house in Savannah, Georgia, which is where the true crime story behind Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is set (so naturally the novel and its famous drag queen are mentioned).
Soon after his arrival, Brad meets Bias, a haunted locations tour guide, and they soon begin dating in a bit of a May/December situation, which is handled playfully.
This is very much a romance with the ghost story as the backdrop. The novel also paints a modest picture of the historic city and some of its gay nightlife. Yet with all its attention to detail, it surprisingly features the protagonist and his black female friend going specifically to a Paula Deen restaurant without making any references to her problematic, racist comments! What can I say—these are sensitive times, so I had to point that out.
As for the ghostly aspects, the novel gives nods to plenty of classic horror films, both with name dropping by the characters and in the supernatural occurrences the characters experience. For instance, the house was built on a burial ground, there are the sounds of footsteps, moving items, mysterious noises, a visit from paranormal researchers, and even a cat scare! So dare I say horror fans will feel right at home?
As with Gunnells’ other novels I’ve read and covered on Boys, Bears & Scares, 324 Abercorn is a light, easy read, ideal for a day at the beach…if the beaches actually open this season. Check out Mark’s photographic journey through the setting of the book on his site.
Check out my blogs about Mark’s other fiction as well:
I interview him here.
I cover his novella Fort here.
I look at his slasher novel Sequel here.
And I cover his zombie novella Asylum here.