Review: Psychopomp and Cirumstance by Adrean Messmer

Thank you to Sage’s Blog Tours for providing an eBook copy of Psychopomp and Circumstance by Adrean Messmer so I could participate in this blog tour with the following review.
I cannot begin this review without first addressing this amazing cover art. It took me back to a time when I was thoroughly unsettled by the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark artwork, yet could not look away. It pairs very well with the story found inside.

It starts off with a mysterious Facebook post by Nell. She can’t recall writing it, nor does she even understand the reference to something called the Sewercide Man. She is quickly able to do some damage control before her friends see it and question her sanity. Nell proceeds to do what most of the newly graduated kids in the town of Bandon do, go party at Zack’s house. It seems that Nell and her group of friends (frienemies?) are the ones who have no clear plan on what path to take now that they no longer have high school to wake up for.

The Sewercide Man begins to make his presence known first to Nell through visions of his creepy crooked face and disheveled umbrella. As he makes his appearances more frequently, a virus-like wave of violent behavior takes over the town. We find out that the Sewercide Man is a deceased serial killer who terrorized Bandon many years before. His moniker made up by Nell’s friend, Kelly, as a child which she has uttered to no one. As you make your way through the novel, you get a point of view from several of the group and their run-ins with this sickness of murder, and what now seem to be somewhat cognizant zombie versions of their friends and other folks around town. We are left with our head spinning over who is really dead, who is going to make it, who is a disease induced hallucination?

The book was a quick read and I really did not want to put it down. However, it did come with a couple of faults. There may have been a touch too many POVs, thus making it a little hard to keep up with who was dating who or why someone was seeking another’s home in refuge. I would also like to see more care with the transgender character. I think the trope of finding out someone is trans by surprise through a sex scene needs to be retired out of respect for the trans community.

We have a lot of work to do in supporting women in publishing, but especially when that genre is horror. I am excited to see what Adrean Messmer puts on the page next.