Just in time for Halloween, Dan Padavona released Treman Mills, a slasher horror novelette in the spirit of vintage slasher and proto-slasher movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Maniac.
“Like many others, I grew up with the Universal monsters before graduating to the Hammer films,” said Padavona. “Everything changed the first time I saw Halloween. I was hooked. Over the next several years, I drank in the gory 1980s slasher horror craze, from Friday the 13th to Madman to Just Before Dawn.”
Padavona said he’d wanted to write a slasher horror story after concluding the Dark Vanishings series.
“Writing some sort of serial killer or slasher story was inevitable. Treman Mills has everything I want in a novelette – it’s concise, scary, and downright gory when it needs to be. I don’t know about you, but being trapped in dilapidated building after dark creeps me out.”
Will Treman Mills be Padavona’s only foray into slasher horror?
“I assure you this won’t be the last. My forthcoming novel, Crawlspace, will have a decided slasher vibe to it.”
From the back cover:
Hurrying to get home before dark, Rachel and Charlie take a shortcut through the dangerous section of Treman Mills, a town where five brutal, unsolved murders have occurred in the last year. When the Black Thorns gang catches them on the wrong side of town, Rachel and Charlie flee into an abandoned building.
But they are not alone in the darkness.
If you like your horror gory and bloody, Treman Mills is the story you’ve been waiting for.
Treman Mills by Dan Padavona: A Renaissance in Slasher Horror
The horror genre, particularly the slasher sub-genre, has seen its fair share of evolution, experimentation, and at times, stagnation. But every so often, a story comes along that reinvigorates the familiar tropes, breathing fresh life into a category we thought we knew all too well. Enter “Treman Mills” by Dan Padavona, a book that is set to rejuvenate the slasher scene with its deft handling of suspense, character, and gore.
Rooted in Tradition, Yet Unmistakably Fresh:
While Padavona pays homage to the classic elements of slasher horror—remote settings, an enigmatic killer, and an escalating sense of dread—he manages to sidestep clichés. Instead of just revisiting well-trodden paths, Padavona adds layers of complexity to his narrative. “Treman Mills” is not just a slasher tale; it’s a deep dive into the psyche of its characters, an exploration of a town with dark secrets, and a commentary on the lengths people go to hide their past.
Character Depth Elevates the Stakes:
In many slasher stories, characters can sometimes feel expendable—mere pawns waiting for their inevitable, gruesome end. In “Treman Mills”, however, Padavona ensures that each character is well-fleshed-out, with backgrounds, ambitions, fears, and relationships that are intricate and relatable. As a result, the stakes feel incredibly high. The anticipation of a character’s potential demise is nerve-wracking because readers become deeply invested in their stories.
A Setting that’s a Character in its Own Right:
The town of Treman Mills is more than just a backdrop; it’s an entity with its own set of mysteries and malevolent energy. The atmosphere in the novel is palpably tense, with the town’s history playing a significant role in the unfolding horror. This deep connection between setting and story, a technique reminiscent of masters like Stephen King, adds a unique dimension to the narrative.
Revisiting Gore with Purpose:
Slasher novels often walk a fine line when it comes to gore. Too much, and it feels gratuitous; too little, and it lacks the shock factor inherent to the sub-genre. Padavona strikes a perfect balance in “Treman Mills”. The gory moments are graphic and impactful, yet they always serve a purpose, either advancing the plot or providing deeper insights into the twisted mind of the killer.
“Treman Mills” by Dan Padavona doesn’t just contribute to the slasher genre; it revitalizes it. By melding classic slasher elements with a richly developed setting, complex characters, and a storyline that keeps readers guessing until the very end, Padavona has created a modern masterpiece. For fans of horror, and especially for those who’ve longed for a fresh take on the slasher narrative, “Treman Mills” is an exhilarating and terrifying journey.
Drawing Parallels: Treman Mills and Horror Cinematic Giants
When diving into “Treman Mills”, seasoned horror enthusiasts might notice strands of DNA from iconic films like John Carpenter’s “Halloween” and Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. These aren’t just superficial comparisons; they’re insightful parallels that showcase how Padavona has tapped into the rich history of slasher horror while delivering his own unique narrative.
In “Halloween”, the terror of Michael Myers wasn’t just in his ruthless killings, but also in his enigmatic motivations and his uncanny ability to be everywhere and nowhere, much like a ghost. Similarly, “Treman Mills” presents a villain whose menace permeates the story, with the town’s unsettling history amplifying this lurking dread. Both tales explore the idea that true horror can emerge from the most familiar and seemingly benign settings, be it a quiet suburb or a small town. Yet, while “Halloween” focuses on the terror of a single night, “Treman Mills” delves deeper into its setting’s historical shadows, making the horror both immediate and rooted in the past.
On the other hand, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” serves as a touchstone in the visceral, raw nature of horror. The film’s gritty portrayal of violence and its disturbing family dynamics create an atmosphere that is both chaotic and deeply unsettling. “Treman Mills”, while not mirroring the exact narrative structure, echoes the sense of unease that comes from being in a place where the line between humanity and monstrosity is paper-thin.
Both stories leverage the terror of isolation and the unknown, pushing their characters (and by extension, the audience) to confront their deepest fears in environments that offer no sanctuary. Padavona’s ability to integrate elements reminiscent of these cinematic giants, while crafting a story that is uniquely his own, is a testament to his mastery of the genre.
Download Treman Mills direct from Amazon for only $2.99. For an even better deal, for $4.99 you can download the new edition of The Island, which includes Treman Mills, One Autumn in Kane Grove, and The Island.
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