Gus Moreno's This Thing Between Us is the kind of horror novel that makes you uncomfortable in the best way possible. Some of the discomfort comes from the book's unrelenting creepiness; apparitions, a resurrected dog, mysterious rituals, a mouth full of shattered teeth. But some of it comes from the way Moreno explores grief and how it can be so strong it changes the way we interpret reality ... is more than a horror novel about loss and grief. This is a political book about culture, migration, and identity ... a fresh take on the genre that celebrates and pays tribute to its elements, from the gore to the cerebral stuff. Moreno loves horror, and here, he proves he understands the genre's DNA and how it can morph into new monsters from which recognizable features emerge ... While the scary parts are fun to read, the emotional grittiness of this novel is what makes a lasting impact ... a superb debut from an author who understands that horror fails in the absence of empathy. More than just scare us, Moreno wants to hurt readers with this book, and I strongly suggest you let him — even if you end up turning off your smart speaker forever.
Some books get into you, worming their way into your psyche. Scenes from their pages bubble up from the depths of your mind at the oddest times. You’re doing the dishes, listening to an album or a podcast, and a snippet of remembered dialogue sends shivers down your spine. When the last page is turned, these books leave a void in their wake. Gus Moreno’s This Thing Between Us is such a book ... Moreno writes about feelings and experiences for which words can never be big enough. And he does it, not only with skill and grace, but with a grasp of genre capable of igniting a page-turning frenzy in the reader ... Along with Moreno’s atmospheric approach, much of the heavy lifting is taken care of, leaving the reader’s imagination wide margins to conjure its own fears to fill the space ... One can’t help but hope that, when faced with the unfathomable, Thiago will summon the strength to save himself. In the end, Moreno’s This Thing Between Us does what only the best horror can — gives the reader reason to hold onto their humanity.
Moreno emphatically plants his flag as an original new voice in cosmic horror ... Readers will eagerly follow Thiago and the increasingly weird twists and turns that escalate from unsettlingly haunting to uncomfortably creepy, and ultimately arrive at mind-altering terror ... Moreno has melded a thought-provoking novel about mourning with unapologetic horror, much like the very best of twenty-first-century cosmic horror.