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Loam

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When three siblings return to their hometown for their estranged father’s funeral, burying the ghosts of the past proves to be impossible in this chilling story by the author of Mysterious Skin.Forty years ago, triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward were swept up in a case of rural mass hysteria. Coerced into fabricating unspeakable lies about their first-grade teacher and her adult soSkin.Forty When three siblings return to their hometown for their estranged father’s funeral, burying the ghosts of the past proves to be impossible in this chilling story by the author of Mysterious Skin.Forty years ago, triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward were swept up in a case of rural mass hysteria. Coerced into fabricating unspeakable lies about their first-grade teacher and her adult son, they were complicit in destroying two lives. Ever since, they have believed they are being followed by a presence still seeking retribution for their childhood sins. Unless their guilty consciences are conjuring as many monsters as their innocent minds once did.Loam is part of Disorder, a collection of six short stories of living nightmares, chilling visions, and uncanny imagination that explore a world losing its balance in terrifying ways. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single disorienting sitting.


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When three siblings return to their hometown for their estranged father’s funeral, burying the ghosts of the past proves to be impossible in this chilling story by the author of Mysterious Skin.Forty years ago, triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward were swept up in a case of rural mass hysteria. Coerced into fabricating unspeakable lies about their first-grade teacher and her adult soSkin.Forty When three siblings return to their hometown for their estranged father’s funeral, burying the ghosts of the past proves to be impossible in this chilling story by the author of Mysterious Skin.Forty years ago, triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward were swept up in a case of rural mass hysteria. Coerced into fabricating unspeakable lies about their first-grade teacher and her adult son, they were complicit in destroying two lives. Ever since, they have believed they are being followed by a presence still seeking retribution for their childhood sins. Unless their guilty consciences are conjuring as many monsters as their innocent minds once did.Loam is part of Disorder, a collection of six short stories of living nightmares, chilling visions, and uncanny imagination that explore a world losing its balance in terrifying ways. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single disorienting sitting.

30 review for Loam

  1. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I'm going with 3.5 Stars. Strange story but also interesting about false memories in children. I think... 3.5 Stars Listened to this on audible.

  2. 4 out of 5

    TL

    *Read for free with kindle Unlimited and audible for the audiobook * ---- This was scattered, like it was confused about who/what it was trying to be. Some elements were intriguing but fell by the wayside. I think this one should have been a novella or novel.. it was wasted as a short story. The writing is good, it has that going for it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Renee (The B-Roll)

    The second installment of this collection, Loam tells the story of a group of children in the 1980s (I think) and their connection to the Satanic Panic that flooded the nation during the time.  From the title of this novella, you would probably never get that but later in the story, the title makes perfect sense, in an eerie way. In this story, three adults are returning home to bury their late father and take care of his house and estate.  In order to get rid of their late father's p The second installment of this collection, Loam tells the story of a group of children in the 1980s (I think) and their connection to the Satanic Panic that flooded the nation during the time.  From the title of this novella, you would probably never get that but later in the story, the title makes perfect sense, in an eerie way. In this story, three adults are returning home to bury their late father and take care of his house and estate.  In order to get rid of their late father's possessions, they visit a local antique shop in order to make a deal for moving the furniture and items out.  In the process, they find something quite interesting at the antique shop that relates directly back to their past and makes them remember and question what happened, which becomes the rest of the story.    This story was one of my favorites out of this collection just because of how well it was written for me and again, the attention to details.  This story is steeped in atmosphere and has a creepy and eerie vibe going on all throughout it.  The revelation that the three protagonists come to, both in the antique shop and later is really interesting.  I have studied to Satanic Panic of the 1980s a lot in my graduate schools days so the subject was something that I was very familiar with.  However, for me, the best part was when the adults started retelling what happened in the basement.  Those parts of this story honestly scared me; the writing here was sooooo good and spooky.  This part ties in directly to the title.  I loved how in this part, I was guessing about the sound and the pattern on the floor and knew what it was, but the children and the adults in the story never seem to get there.  I love these types of stories, especially when they are well-written because it makes them feel a bit scarier for me like I want to grab the characters by the shoulders and tell them what it was!  All in all, great story.  This is probably my favorite out of this entire collection because of the way it's written, the dense atmosphere of the story, and how creepy it feels as you read it and realize what is happening. 

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    So what happened?! Started great: a creepy story involving “Satanic Panic,” coercion, paranormal activity—but then it just ends very abruptly, without really giving much of a conclusion. The ending was a major let down, but up until the last 5 pages or so, I was enjoying the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Deepu Singh

    Surely about to give me nightmares

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cgcang

    Either something is going on in this story and I have no clue what it is, or it's a complete waste of time. It was interesting and catchy at times but it managed to raise very few questions and in the end it seems to have made no effort to answer most of these questions. A story doesn't have to be all about questions and answers but other than the sense of curiosity it had no spirit anyway. The story and the characters were weak, the writing was dependent on the elements of mystery. The author d Either something is going on in this story and I have no clue what it is, or it's a complete waste of time. It was interesting and catchy at times but it managed to raise very few questions and in the end it seems to have made no effort to answer most of these questions. A story doesn't have to be all about questions and answers but other than the sense of curiosity it had no spirit anyway. The story and the characters were weak, the writing was dependent on the elements of mystery. The author did his best to write something dark, suspenseful and maybe supernatural, and he also tried to delve into some sociological issues, but in the end none of his efforts stay with the reader I believe.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Waldon

    Quietly Sinister I would describe the manner in which this piece delivers its payload as 'quietly sinister’. Rather than bludgeoning the reader with the plot, it slickly slithers into your brain and festers into fruition. Good work!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Lou

    Not sure I fully understood the premise of this short story.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dee Cherry

    This story was heartbreaking as flashbacks told the unfortunate events that occurred when the triplets were in 1st grade. While they participated in the fiasco that caused the destruction of an innocent family, it seemed to me Miriam was the only one that now had regret. It was sad what Teresa and Phillip experienced as the town turned against them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gwendolyn Brooks

    This was creepy and chilling, all the more so because it seems that I do remember something like the alleged event in the story actually occurring in a small town somewhere when I was a teenager. In a story like this, it's so very easy for authors to fall into the trap of going too campy, or sentimental, and I was pleasantly surprised, and pleased that Heim avoided this. I particularly admire Heim's wordsmithing skills in this short little work, and found myself envious of his talent as I read i This was creepy and chilling, all the more so because it seems that I do remember something like the alleged event in the story actually occurring in a small town somewhere when I was a teenager. In a story like this, it's so very easy for authors to fall into the trap of going too campy, or sentimental, and I was pleasantly surprised, and pleased that Heim avoided this. I particularly admire Heim's wordsmithing skills in this short little work, and found myself envious of his talent as I read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Honya

    Loam is one of those stories that starts out reading like some slice-of-life family-drama sort of thing–relatively innocent and safe for the most part. But as the story proceeds and the author starts unpacking the skeletons in this particular family’s closet, the horror element begins building gradually, atmospherically, until by the time you get to their childhood home, you’re ready for something horrific to jump out at you. Nothing ever does quite jump out, which is almost worse, leaving a sli Loam is one of those stories that starts out reading like some slice-of-life family-drama sort of thing–relatively innocent and safe for the most part. But as the story proceeds and the author starts unpacking the skeletons in this particular family’s closet, the horror element begins building gradually, atmospherically, until by the time you get to their childhood home, you’re ready for something horrific to jump out at you. Nothing ever does quite jump out, which is almost worse, leaving a slimy feeling that it might at any time. The ending is kind of like that, too–open-ended enough that we don’t know if the horror is actually over or not. I’ve heard some people complain that the story “just ends abruptly,” but I liked the way it left things open for interpretation rather than tying everything up nearly, which I honestly think might have killed the story. Also of note, the author does a fabulous job of giving us a lot of backstory early on, so we’ve got context, without making it an info-dump. There’s a lot of detail woven seamlessly into the story in such a way that it’s just picked up on without even realizing it sometimes. The author also employs an interesting use of flashbacks mixed with the main storyline to give us more information and build the tension. The use of potentially faulty memories adds an interesting sense of uncertainty to the atmosphere as well. I will say that Loam feels like a story that would generally fit better in a short story collection than as a standalone novella, but it was still an enjoyable, eerie read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Darrell

    Triplets return home to Kansas after the death of their father in "Loam" by Scott Heim. They discover disturbing photos of themselves as first-graders in an antique shop, but don't remember posing for the pictures. This is a super creepy story that seems to be inspired by the satanic panic of the 1980s. There's another creepy scene involving a ghostly figure sucking on someone's toes. Unfortunately, this one didn't have a strong ending. It just kind of ends.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Pearce

    I wonder what kind of deal Scott Heim made with Amazon. I hope it was lucrative. The community of writers [of which I am one...Amazon, give me a call] struggles mightily for a foot in the door of any market. And we know that sometime you have to take what you can get and hope for the best. Bills must be paid, after all. So, it appears that Amazon took a look at the calendar and [cue sound effects of screeching brakes] said "Holy moly! The beach-book season is upon us and we need to get some kind I wonder what kind of deal Scott Heim made with Amazon. I hope it was lucrative. The community of writers [of which I am one...Amazon, give me a call] struggles mightily for a foot in the door of any market. And we know that sometime you have to take what you can get and hope for the best. Bills must be paid, after all. So, it appears that Amazon took a look at the calendar and [cue sound effects of screeching brakes] said "Holy moly! The beach-book season is upon us and we need to get some kind of blockbuster hit. Hey, let's start a collection of stories and call it 'Disorder'. That sounds creepy and click-worthy, right? [cue crickets]." It's just an awful title for a collection of anything...but this is Amazon. I buy cookware, glue sticks for my quilting projects, Buzz Lightyear [only 3 left in stock!!], toasters and chili crunch from them..but I don't know if Amazon should go into creative endeavors. Enough about me [but try the chili crunch sometime]. Scott Heim writes a mean story...some very effective prose here. Atmospheric, well-paced and characters I cared about. This story was billed as horror, psychological thriller...you know, click-worthy bait for going to the lake and hunkering down for a good read. However, this story lost its guts half way through. I'm still not sure what Loam is about. Lost childhood? Mass hysteria? I think one reviewer likened it to Stephen King. Jeez...that's a lot of pressure to put on Scott Heim. My issue with the loss of guts halfway through the story is that this is billed as a 60-minute read. Therefore, 30 minutes into it, I'm already looking for the resolution of the hook. It didn't come and when a reader is anticipating 'something' and you don't deliver, you kind of fail as an author. I can’t blame Heim for all of it. He was in a predicament thanks to Amazon marketing. He was supposed to be writing a 'thriller'. It didn't quite work for me. Here's why. The triplets come home to bury their father. Much is made about the horrific father..brutal, cold, indifferent. But there are no examples. So why all the hysterics about coming home to bury Daddy? Humph! The mother died long ago. I can't remember how. Let's just say, the mother was not part of this story. But when you have a horrific father, you wonder about the mother. I mean after all, they raised these kids together. Triplets? What a pregnancy! Yikes. Mom left some Mennonite quilts. And that's all you hear about her. Daddy drank and argued with Mom…and that’s the dynamic that motivates a substantial part of the plot? I thought this was a red herring in the story. It wasn't. Fizzled out. Then you've got this thing with the first-grade teacher and her whack-job son, Phillip. Was it mass hysteria in the classroom? Were the police bored and trying to come up with some elaborate satanic worshipping cult to stay busy in Loam? Something was going on in that cloakroom! We never quite find out and I'm okay with that. It's nice atmosphere. Circle of bruises on the thigh…yes? And then…? Again, nothing. Heim's writing about the relationship between the triplets is very good. He builds a case for their solidarity together as the story progresses and tries to find its footing. Not sure why he made one of them gay...but it was an artistic choice. The ubiquitous antique shop owner in the Midwest has his gay-dar alerted when Gay Triplet stops in…goodness, can we come up with some fresh occupations for gay men? It just didn't add anything for me and, frankly, I was waiting for it to mean something in the story. And then we get to the basement. And toe sucking. This is when I clicked pause on my Kindle and went swimming. The slurping, sucking, sliming and dragging images of whatever the hell was in the basement just felt weak to me. And I was hot and a good thriller might have made me sweat it out. This one did not. I'm all for leaving the reader guessing a bit. But this was tedious and didn't build up to anything. For 99 cents, this wasn't a complete waste. I might even check out the other stories in the series. Loam just didn't work for me other than a few pleasant moments with Heim's writing. It bothers me that Disorder is marketed in the horror section. It was not horror.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chava

    A story that seems part Stephen King-esque tale of the horrors of a small town, this quick read (easily accomplished over a lunch break) is the second entry in the Amazon short-story collection "Disorder". One of the reasons I really enjoy these Amazon collections is that we get the opportunity to be introduced to an author's style without a huge commitment to it. Most of these are quick enough to read over a cup or coffee or, in the case of this one, a lunch break. I've found a few authors this A story that seems part Stephen King-esque tale of the horrors of a small town, this quick read (easily accomplished over a lunch break) is the second entry in the Amazon short-story collection "Disorder". One of the reasons I really enjoy these Amazon collections is that we get the opportunity to be introduced to an author's style without a huge commitment to it. Most of these are quick enough to read over a cup or coffee or, in the case of this one, a lunch break. I've found a few authors this way and I've never regretted reading one of these, even when a story didn't impress. I've never read anything by Scott Heim before, and I don't know that based off this I'll rush out to find his works any time soon with a TBR pile that threatens to fall and crush me to death with each passing day, but this was creepy and entertaining. I definitely could see his fully-fleshed out novels being great, even excellent.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

    https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I really enjoyed this story. It starts off innocently enough if sad with triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward returning to their home town to bury their father. The story gets more and more menacing as shocking secrets from the past are gradually revealed. The triplet’s homecoming is interrupted when they find disturbing pictures of past events which trigger memories of terrible things that happened when the triplets were in the 1st grade. My heart went out to their teacher Teresa and he https://thebookloversboudoir.wordpres... I really enjoyed this story. It starts off innocently enough if sad with triplets Miriam, Louise, and Edward returning to their home town to bury their father. The story gets more and more menacing as shocking secrets from the past are gradually revealed. The triplet’s homecoming is interrupted when they find disturbing pictures of past events which trigger memories of terrible things that happened when the triplets were in the 1st grade. My heart went out to their teacher Teresa and her son Phillip as the town turns against them thanks to a witch-hunt by the police and coerced lies by Miriam, Louise, and Edward and other children. By the time the accusations are proven to be lies the damage has been done. I was shocked by the fact Miriam seems to be the only one with guilt and regret. This is a powerful tale.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    Haunting Triplets involved in a scandal of epic proportions as children feel they've been haunted ever since. They must return home as adults to bury their father and fear what they'll find waiting for them. As ghosts of the past, and their own sordid memories, start rearing their ugly head, the siblings cling to each other hoping they can finally find peace. Loam is as creepy for how real the scandal is as it is for the paranormal activities. The brother and sisters struggle to come to terms wi Haunting Triplets involved in a scandal of epic proportions as children feel they've been haunted ever since. They must return home as adults to bury their father and fear what they'll find waiting for them. As ghosts of the past, and their own sordid memories, start rearing their ugly head, the siblings cling to each other hoping they can finally find peace. Loam is as creepy for how real the scandal is as it is for the paranormal activities. The brother and sisters struggle to come to terms with the past is fraught with tension and makes the reader feel appropriately uncomfortable.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Chapel

    I see the negative reviews and low ratings and realize you have to be of a certain age to appreciate the foundations of this story. I was born in 1968 and remember well the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s—all the kids and their families appearing on talk shows and news broadcasts telling unbelievable tales of ritual sex abuse and human sacrifice. It ruined many lives, cost people their businesses, and tore communities apart. This story is a sad and well-told reminder of what mass hysteria looks lik I see the negative reviews and low ratings and realize you have to be of a certain age to appreciate the foundations of this story. I was born in 1968 and remember well the “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s—all the kids and their families appearing on talk shows and news broadcasts telling unbelievable tales of ritual sex abuse and human sacrifice. It ruined many lives, cost people their businesses, and tore communities apart. This story is a sad and well-told reminder of what mass hysteria looks like and the damage it leaves in its wake.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Paffrath

    Dark family secrets ... I liked this book. Yes it was disturbing, but the angle from which the story is told was very interesting. A group of sisters arrive back home to bury their father and must face terrifying childhood memories that may or may not have happened. The writing was very good, fast paced. Each sister gives little glimpses of her memories, but the story does not seem at all fragmented.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'd call this a 3.5 star review. I'm not sure if this contains spoilers or not but I'm marking it just in case. While the short story is excellently written, it has one major flaw. It starts as a condemnation of the mass hysteria (akin to the McMartin preschool trial of the 1980s) which is actually quite interesting. Unfortunately it devolves into a run of the mill ghost story 2/3 of the way through. Disappointing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    What really happened? What a thought provoking story! Adult triplets reluctantly return home to bury their father. As first graders, they were unwittingly participants in a town scandal that resulted in the death of two, or is it one, people. Are they being haunted by one of the victims from so long ago? This story is well written and smoothly draws the reader into the thoughts and memories of the single male of triplets. I totally recommend readers to be pulled along.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dori

    Good story This story was written well, grammatically, as a short story. It captured my imagination . The family dynamics were interesting. The story wasn’t in my realm of taste but for anyone who has a spare hour or two and likes an almost-paranormal, disturbing mystery, I would recommend it, if only to hear their opinion. I could go on but I’m sure I’d give away the outcome, which was luke-warm.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Krystal Gibson

    I enjoyed this story more than the rest in this collection. The idea of the mass hysteria was interesting and the false memories put into children by adults is something that truly happens. What I didn't understand was the basement thing and the photos. Did the guy go back and do those things since he was accused? Who took the photos and how did that come to be? This part was confusing as heck. Was it a ghost? Otherwise, it was a pretty good story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    BL

    This is my first book by this author Scott Heim. This story is a little out there for my taste but it is not so far that I cannot enjoy it. I was reading this as part of the Disorder Collection, and not sure I would have read it otherwise. I was surprised by the ending of this book, seemed to just stop.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Loam is one of six novels in Amazon's Disorder Collection of long short stories or short novellas. The author paints a credible picture of three siblings and a town gone wrong. The characters are sufficiently developed for this genre and the atmosphere is delightfully eerie. Helm's prose and storyline make Loam worthwhile reading for those who crave short, entertaining fiction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Strange story A set of triplets return to their hometown to attend their estranged father's funeral. Haunting them are the lies they and their fellow first grade classmates told that destroyed two innocent lives many years earlier. This strange short story shows the dangers of lies and how they can spread like weeds once they start.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Andrew

    Oh what a tangled web. Kids interviewed by policemen. Kids to scared to tell the truth. They just say what they think the adults want to hear. Just like that two life’s were ruined. The kids grow into adults with huge amounts of guilt. Something is wrong with the system. Highly recommend

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Interesting I enjoyed this book and it left me wondering what really happened all those years ago..I wanted more. More information about the others in the story and was threatening evil the cause of the loam?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    The story was good, felt like it was ripped from the headlines of the time, which I am assuming was the 80s. The second half was more ghost story and I was really getting into that bit, but then it ended abruptly. I felt like there was more story to be told. 3.5 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janelle Franco

    Great This is a craftfully written short story...Mysteriously haunting. Now I want to read more by this author! Amazing how quickly developed the characters were in such short time. Good plot resolution. Must read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wells

    This was dark and weird. Not much character development and a string of random events. I read the first book in the Amazon Disorder collection, The Best Girls, and it was dark, but still interesting and well written. Not sure if I want to continue this series.

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