Dark, Unique, Thought-Provoking
Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Grey Matter Press for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!
Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon
About the Author
Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia.
His work has been shortlisted for, and sometimes won, the Shirley Jackson Awards, Aurealis Awards, Australian Shadows Awards, and the WSFA Small Press Award.
He plays bass and sings in heavy rock/metal bands such as icecocoon and Blood Red Renaissance, dabbles with poetry, video editing, and visual art, and works on projects with his photographer partner.
He is the author of Supermassive Black Mass (novelette, Demain Publishing, 2019), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (horror stories, Things in the Well, 2020) and Midnight in the Chapel of Love (novel, JournalStone, 2021).
He loves all kinds of metal from Mötley Crüe to Pig Destroyer and his favorite Slayer album is Seasons in the Abyss.
Find out more at www.matthewrdavisfiction.wordpress.com
For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.
Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer. What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?
When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he’s drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s fresh introduction to her half-lit world is darkly appealing. Now faced with confusing quandaries—connection or convenience, relationship or exploitation—can he help any of the women in his life? Or is he just helping himself? The untold tragedies of Natasha’s lonely life may be more than he can handle. And in a town whose history is littered with dead girls, there may be no happy ending for anyone. A tar-black coming of age story, this gritty psychological thriller from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis, eloquently chronicles the crushing gravity of small-town hopelessness, the double-edged catharsis of sex, drugs, and heavy metal, and the brutal weight of youth’s first lessons in accountability.
Review (No Spoilers)
I don’t even know where to begin with this review! The Dark Matter of Natasha is a work of art. Described as as a psychological thriller, I’m more inclined to label it as a thought-provoking piece of genre-defying literary fiction. In fact, I don’t even know what age category this book would fall under. I’m going to go with adult strictly because of the unapologetically dark themes. Despite being a novella, the book manages to cover topics ranging from child sexual abuse, rape, suicide ideation, suicide, murder, drug abuse, and more.
The story follows a completely nameless main character as he recollects the experiences of his life as a teenager meeting a deeply-troubled, yet extremely intriguing, classmate named Natasha. Struggling to figure out who he is and what he wants, Natasha is the perfect distraction for him to focus on. As readers we discover just how much one persons traumatic past can affect so many people around them. Due to the short nature of the book and its captivating story, it is extremely easy to read in one sitting. Included in my copy was also a preview of another one of Grey Matter Press’ books (and a book I read and reviewed previously), Resembling Lepus, which was a nice little gift. If these two book are any indication of the types of stories Grey Matter Press produces, friends, they are definitely a publishing company to keep your eye on!
The Dark Matter of Natasha is as weird as it is beautiful. I have no doubt that it will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.
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