I’m thinking that Shipp’s work just isn’t for me.
Bedfellow by Jeremy C. Shipp
My Edition: Paperback – 218 pages – 2018 – Tor – ISBN: 9781250175298
What starts as a break-in when a man in a Looney Tunes shirt crawls into the Lund family’s living room window, turns into a takeover as they suddenly come to know him as Uncle Marv.
I’ve read one of Shipp’s other books, The Atrocities, and my review of that started with: “Not really sure what I just read. The ending had me like ??? But this was super atmospheric and fairly creepy and much like reading a nightmare, but not so confusing that I was pissed.”
That’s pretty much how I feel here. I love the concept of a strange man appearing and then doing something to the family’s memories to make himself part of their lives. At first, he’s a stranger they met at a restaurant, then he’s a friend of their father’s from work, then he’s a best friend so close to the family that they refer to him as Uncle. That’s creepy as shit.
Overall, I wasn’t creeped out or scared like I’d hoped to be. Shipp’s work seems to have a dreamlike quality that doesn’t work for me. There were scenes where the Lunds would be doing something in real life and suddenly having some sort of vision or memory that was bizarre of violent, but they all kind of accepted these due to the stranger’s magic and so the scary bits felt…muted? The stranger was also constantly sick and generally disgusting (I’m not really clear on why), but those scenes were just kinda gross.
I wanted to be creeped out and unsettled. I wanted to worry about having nightmares. I at least wanted a satisfying conclusion to this strange tale. Sadly, I didn’t get any of those. I think Shipp’s writing just isn’t for me.