Hell Cat of the Holt by Mark Cassell

Hell Cat of the Holt (a novella): supernatural horror in the Shadow Fabric mythos - Mark Cassell

I shallowly chose this as my next read because of the title and the cover. I live with a hellcat who chews laptop cords, Ipads, electrical wiring, hapless and short lived mice and human legs. He likes the legs best of all but only if they’re hairy so I’m usually safe. He also takes great joy in lazing about on the stairway awaiting the human stupid enough to dare pass him. You know the type.

Here’s the devil’s furry son we call Patrick.

Here he is in action:

Anyhow , this story turned out to be about a potentially demonic cat and a whole lot more. It’s part of the “shadow fabric mythos” which consists of several connected stories set up by the author. I haven’t read any of the other work set in this mythos but I can tell you that I’m going to change that and that you can go into this one without feeling left out, confused or aggravated. Hell Cat of the Holt stands alone quite well and is one of those atmospheric stories that creeps under your skin pretty quick. 

I was taken in by the opening scene which was nearly a complete unsettling short story all on its own. I even had to flick back to the blurb to make sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up another short story collection. Nope, I was safe! I hadn’t just accidentally agreed to read another “Nightmares”. Phew.

Anne has recently returned to the home of her childhood with her cat Murphy. Soon after, Murphy goes missing and she spends most of her time wandering about the small town in search of him. She worries that the rumors may be true, and that there is indeed a big, black monstrous cat terrorizing the locals, causing accidents and she fears that it may have done something terrible to her beloved Murphy! Nothing hooks me like a sweet kitty in peril and hooked I was. With the help of a neighbor named Leo, Anne digs deep into the secrets of the demonic cat and discovers something far more insidious and frightening than an overlarge cat with red eyes (but yeah, that’s scary enough!).

This short tale paints an excellent picture of a small town gripped by something not quite of this world. It’s a little gory and the atmosphere is as much a part of the story as the characters and I always love an author who can do that and do it well. There is a bonus story at the end that ties in with Hellcat and adds an even creepier undertone to everything. 

If you’re a fan of atmospheric horror and cats you’ll most definitely want to read Hellcat of the Holt. 

I received an ARC of this story from Confessions Of A Reviewer promotion. Thanks for sharing!