Review: This Thing Between Us by Gus Moreno (Spoiler-Free)
Stephen Graham Jones is right. This book isn't a ride—it's a slide. And once you've been pushed down, there is no climbing back up.
This Thing Between Us is a carnal exploration of grief written as a letter from the protagonist, Thiago, to his late wife. The novel is split into four distinct sections, each more disquieting than the last. Part One begins with an off-brand Alexa gone rogue, but by Part Four the words on the page no longer describe reality in a way of which you could possibly make sense. There's guts and gore and black holes and (walls?) and onyx and orange powder cyanide and (is that the cook? or a bug?) and why does everyone look like that and—I think you get the idea.
Basically, if you like weird horror you're gonna like this eerie little book.
I tried catching you but you fell through me.
Grief lies at the center of this thing, festering like maggots in the exposed ribcage of a dead dog (PSA, the cover does have a dog on it. You've been warned.). I appreciate how the subject is approached from several different angles: emotion, religion, fear, etc. Moreno also weaves in commentary on Mexican-American cultural identity and how the death of his wife can't be separated from various political agendas.
Overall, I found this book achingly honest and perfectly abstract. It's incredibly specific where it needs to be and mind-bendingly open-ended everywhere else. I could certainly see fans of Gerardo Sámano Córdova's Monstrilio enjoying this story.