Written by: S.T. King
The Fallow Field, written by Leigh Dovey, is an interesting novella about a horrific trip through shattered memories. Matt Sadler wakes dazed – and in the middle of the wilderness, with no recollection of what happened in the recent days.
Gradually though, our hero, in recovering small shards of his memory, ventures out to lonely yet familiar lands for answers. He is taken by intuition to a barren countryside and eventually stumbles onto a farm. He meets the owner — and after an awkward exchange, is invited for tea and dinner.
As more memories return though, they seem to be more than Matt bargained for – and the farmer seems to be much more than a lowly worker of the lands. Our farmer Calham, in fact, holds a very intimate relationship with Matt – and their lives are tied to the land in a sinister and macabre knot.
The Fallow Field is classic horror –- slathered with gore and isolation — starting with trickling memories and evolving to psychological dilemmas. Matt Sadler is a broken man, trying to navigate the plot-holes of his life – and what he finds is just as horrific as the enchanted soil around him.
To the reader who’s driven those lonely roads, accompanied with empty clouds and flat land, and those mundane yet eerily swaying fields of corn — this tale, at first glance, may seem like the right stop to take you back to that moment, when and if you ever wondered if you’d make it through unscathed.
Unfortunately however, even with its relatively unique concept, the story falls quite short of presenting an engaging and entrenching story. While the prose is direct, the grammar, passable, the writing itself is uneven: some parts are oversaturated with superfluous details, and others, dry as a bone. What we end up with is a progression of events that comes off as forced and often tedious. The tension feels unnatural and leads to a sadly predictable conclusion.
Dovey breathes life into an interesting concept that may pique your interest at first – at least until you step in and walk around a little in Matt’s shoes (or lack thereof). What he sees is what you’ve seen and what he feels is what you’d expect – like the one-hundred seventeenth ear of passing corn along the highway.
About The Author: S.T. King is an aspiring novelist with a ravenous appetite for dark, and an insatiable thirst for the ink of the fantastique. Currently he’s a mental health counselor, helping people purge the skeletons from their closets – though admittedly, he thinks it’s more fun putting them back in.