Read In the Light by S.P. Miskowski Online


While fleeing from neighborhood bullies, a lonely girl uncovers a dark secret buried near the abandoned ruins of a house mired in local legend. Ruth hopes the charred remains that she unearths will bring a bit of magic to her life, but she's no match for the force that dwells in this place, waiting for a chance to live again.A displaced child neglected by affluent parentsWhile fleeing from neighborhood bullies, a lonely girl uncovers a dark secret buried near the abandoned ruins of a house mired in local legend. Ruth hopes the charred remains that she unearths will bring a bit of magic to her life, but she's no match for the force that dwells in this place, waiting for a chance to live again.A displaced child neglected by affluent parents and a former preacher burdened by the tragic and scandalous circumstances of his mother's death face a final reckoning at the hands of a woman with the power to summon good and evil.In the Light is the final book of the Skillute Cycle, a chronicle of one fictional town and an abiding horror that lies just beneath the surface. In the woods. In the water. Beneath the ground. The time has arrived. Something evil has come home....

Title : In the Light
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780692275283
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 106 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

In the Light Reviews

  • Char
    2019-05-07 21:28

    The last installment of the Skillute Cycle delivered more of the lovely prose I'm used to getting from S. P. Miskowski.This novella elaborates on the story begun in the novel Knock Knock. A tale about small town life, its secrets, its rituals, and its inhabitants. It's good stuff. I like the fact that women play a strong role here too -it put me in mind of Thomas Tryon's Harvest Home-a book I have no qualms recommending, in addition to this one. However, for best results read Knock Knock before In the Light-to properly complete the Cycle. I've read a few books from Omnium Gatherum now, and have been impressed with each of them. This one was no exception. The same holds true for S. P. Miskowski´s work and I'm excited to see what she does next! Recommended for fans of quieter, literary horror.I was provided a free copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review. This is it.

  • Ann Schwader
    2019-05-04 23:16

    [Full disclosure: I received a free e-copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.] This novella winds up Miskowski’s Skillute Cycle, which began with her debut novel Knock Knock (a Shirley Jackson Award finalist) and continued through the novellas Delphine Dodd (also a Shirley Jackson Award finalist) and Astoria. Like all these works, it succeeds through its focus on the internal lives of its characters – primarily women, though one very sympathetic male arises in this one! – and its dead-on portrayal of claustrophobic life in a backwoods small town. Without going into spoilers, the plot of this one confronts the supernatural threat unleashed by three young girls way back in Knock Knock. When another bullied child stumbles across a metal box containing burnt bones, her desperation opens a door back to this world . . . one that several people have already given their lives trying to close. This story unfolds through three characters, with a section devoted to each. The viewpoint shifts carry the plot along remarkably well, allowing the reader a full view of each life -- including vital bits of family history – without slowing the creepy flow of events. Miskowski does a fine job of weaving together the loose generational ends from her previous tales to achieve a satisfying conclusion, though without much recap for readers who may have forgotten some crucial detail. Fortunately, these details are usually vivid enough to pop back into memory after a page or two! That said, I can’t stress enough that this is a concluding “chapter, ” not a standalone item. Please begin with Knock Knock to achieve the full effect.

  • M Griffin
    2019-04-29 02:14

    In the Light is somewhat dependent upon familiarity with previous installments in S.P. Miskowski's Skillute Cycle (beginning with the novel Knock Knock) for full impact.Miskowski works in a comparatively realistic mode (considering we're talking about supernatural horror fiction) depicting familiar-seeming people in small communities dealing with the burden of family history, and the ordinary difficulties of relating to one other. Miskowski does this quiet, domestic style of horror as well as anybody. She seems to be a "writer's writer," more celebrated by fellow wordsmiths than by the wider public. I hope that will change, and that more people will discover the Skillute Cycle, as well as whatever Miskowski does next.

  • Robert Russin
    2019-05-12 18:13

    Somewhere near the halfway point of In the Light, the third and final novella in S.P. Miskowski's Skillute Cycle, there was a line that popped out at me and lingered in my mind."Henry Colquitt was a haunted man. What did that make his wife?" As a big Stephen King fan, that first sentence is a variation of something I encounter quite often all across the spectrum of horror fiction. The second one appears with much less frequency. Men are often "haunted" or "hunted" or "tortured" by their pasts -- by mistakes of their own and the mistakes of their fathers. Often, their wives are relegated to background figures, either as murder victims, muses to inspire either good or evil, or the mothers of demon spawn. One of the things I've enjoyed most about this series of books is that we get to know the wives and the mothers and the daughters as their own fully formed human beings (well, maybe not always human...) on deeper levels than what their relationships are to the men in their lives. For some reason horror authors are almost as bad at writing women as video game creators and the small armies involved in making superhero movies, and I've really enjoyed how Miskowski's characters throughout these books have been treated like real people and not like a series of one dimensional archetypes. We first entered the town of Skillute, Washington back in 2011 with my favorite horror novel of that year, Knock Knock. Since then, Miskowski has treated us to a novella each year, building and expanding Skillute's story first in 2012's Delphine Dodd and then last year's Astoria (read my review here: ( ).In the Light takes place after the events of Knock Knock, and fills in some of the last remaining gaps of that story. Knock Knock and the novellas it spawned have Miskowski jumping between many different narrators and viewpoints, and all are convincing and believable despite the fact that they all experience the world and their surroundings through very different eyes. The most effective and memorable of the three narrators here is Ruth, a young girl recently transplanted to Skillute as her parents try to profit from its real estate market. Ruth's story is a sad one, and one of the better chronicles of the lonely and isolating nature of childhood that I've read in some time. Like a lot of the best horror writers, Miskowski has a flair for imbuing mundane things with a strange sense of menace . Here, things like a beansprout grown in a cup and a moth fluttering around a child's bedroom take on subtle qualities of malevolence. This is not contemporary horror in the vein of, say, John Dies At the End. The sprout doesn't turn into a carnivorous triffid like it may have in the hands of David Wong, nor does the moth turn into a psychic vampire as in China Mieville's sprawling Perdido Street Station. Atmosphere is key here, and the ability to make great use of unreliable narration helps keep the reader constantly on edge. The Shirley Jackson comparison is obvious -- in fact, the first two books in this series were both shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson award. Take a look at this passage -- "Uhhhh..." she groaned.It was sweet, watching the sound take shape as vapor before her lips. Forcing her will onto the world. Rain, fog, the pull of the river, snow crystals to blanket the town she hated.She stagger-stepped. She held out her arms, imagined haunting the drifts and fields in this ugly overcoat, sneaking up on children, filling their mouths and nostrils and eyes with snow, packing it tight. "Uhhhh..." This is horror in the best Jacksonian way, where reality itself seems as feeble, flawed, and malleable as the human mind. Miskowski's curt and casual treatment of the cruelty and pathos in a young girl allows Ruth to stand proudly near Merricat from We Have Always Lived In The Castle -- though why she'd want to stand anywhere near her is an entirely different matter. However, in the ease with which Miskowski switches between different points of view, In the Light almost reminds me more of Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride than anything else. Miskowski has a mastery of the dry wit and satirical voice that permeated that novel -- I commend her for making the horrors of modern day parenting seem even more frightening than demonic possession and murder. I wouldn't have thought anyone but Atwood could lend such an oppressive and domineering air to a well meaning mother pushing gluten free brownies onto her child, but it works astonishingly well here (I work at a restaurant in Brooklyn. I wake up screaming at least twice a week from nightmares of gluten-free parents). It is precisely Ruth's prosaic surroundings and her all too familiar modern secular upbringing that make the creepiness of the first third of In the Light so effective, and I think Miskowski is doing something very interesting here. This is the first horror story I've read centered around the 21st century model of misguided over-parenting -- Ruth's mother monitors her diet, her weight, her social life, and her emotional state in a domineering way that is very different from the 70's and 80's style of parenting that still casts shadows over many contemporary stories. Ruth's world is sterile, modern, and secular in a way that is almost oppressive on the opposite end of the spectrum than the childhood that, say, Carrie White had in the 70's. Carrie may have been forced onto her knees to pray, but Ruth is forced onto her feet for Zumba. Both girls become victims of an archetypal mother-dragon in the tyrannical Tiamat way, with both mothers on the verge of devouring their young with their own good intentions and protective instincts gone awry. This is a fascinating and largely untapped environment in which to frame a story like this, and I particularly appreciate it in a genre that is so often starved for fresh ideas. When I made my way through the first two of these novellas, I was greedy and wanted another full novel. However, now that the story is complete, I see that the fragmented way in which it was told really does lend an almost mythic, folklorish air to the events of Knock Knock. There is real sense of being let in on the secret shames and scandals of small town tragedy, of gossip and whispered half-truths told guiltily and excitedly over cups of tea and church picnics. I sense this is part of what Miskowski was going for, and I think she pulled it off with great success. Overall, I walk away from The Skillute Cycle very impressed. It is extremely difficult for modern horror writers do anything new that doesn't feel gimmicky or superfluous. This is brilliant storytelling told in a unique and interesting way that I haven't seen before, an experiment in a new way of telling a supernatural small town horror story pulled off with great success. While In the Light stands on its own as a creepy and disturbing short novel, I highly recommend all of my readers to purchase a copy of Knock Knock and enter the town of Skillute from the beginning. Rating: A- PS: I'd like to give a special shoutout to the gorgeous cover illustrations for this series done by Russell Dickerson. Read about it here:[email protected] In the Light will be available on November 1. Pre-order here: S.P. Miskowsi on Twitter: @SPMiskowskiShrieksOut is a bi-weekly horror column for If you are interested in having something featured on the site, email Robert Russin at [email protected]

  • Bandit
    2019-05-10 02:19

    My memory is no longer what it used to be. I read Knock Knock (the first book in this series or cycle) about 10 months ago and as it turns out didn't remember almost a single thing about it except for how much I liked it. The quality seems to have made a much more profound impression that the context (not context's fault in any way, I just read tons). And so, not remembering the first one and having not read the second and third one, this was sort of weird I should remember this, I should remember this, I should have really read them in order sort of read. Aside from that, it was terrific. The quality I remembered was still very much present. Absolutely terrific writing, such vividness to characters and descriptions, such realism. This isn't really a standalone novella though, it's very much a part of something and should be read as such for the optimal experience. This story is set after the events of the novel. Very good quick read from an awesomely talented author. Recommended.

  • Marilou Johnson
    2019-05-23 00:34

    Creepy little novella in the series of the Skillute Cycle. Great descriptive writing. I look forward to more of S.P. Miskowski's stories.

  • Ian Welke
    2019-05-01 21:12

    I wasn’t planning to read this book right away. There’s a stack of books I’m supposed to read asap. But the package arrived from Amazon while I was on my way out the door, so I took the book with me to the library. I sat down for what I thought would be a few minutes, and I flipped it open just to see how it begins. A little while later it was dark out and I was reading the last page. I should have known better. In the Light is an S.P. Miskowski book and I should know by now that her style is so smooth and engaging that it draws me in with every book and the hours of the outside world (as well as their accompanying deadlines) fly right by while I’m transfixed by the world on the page. In the Light is the last of four books in Miskowski’s "The Skillute Cycle", a story of a region in Washington which has been psychically scarred and mirrors that damage to its inhabitants, the characters in the books. I think that any of these stories would read well on their own, but they are certainly enhanced by reading them in order. Each of these: Knock Knock,Delphine Dodd, Astoria, and In the Light, are incredibly captivating atmospheric horror pieces. Miskowski’s prose is so effective and she is so potent at establishing mood and a rising sense of eeriness that although I read In the Light in a public place, the reading area in a library, I had to stop several times and look around and locate the other people to reassure myself that I was there, grounded in reality, and that some nameless evil wasn’t inching ever closer to the back of my neck. I won’t give away the ending, though I will say that some might find it a little abrupt. I would call it a present to those of us that do not like lengthy denouements. I understand that this is the final chapter in "The Skillute Cycle." I cannot wait to see what Miskowski writes next.

  • Whitney
    2019-05-05 01:08

    The four books in the Skillute Cycle make up a whole greater than the individual parts, although each book is excellent in its own right. The cycle follows the history of a malevolent force intimately associated with the restrictions and prejudices of a small pacific northwest town over several decades. Each book expands the history, providing more background and revelations of the past as well as advancing the story into the future. There are some truly creepy things, and like all the best horror, Minkowski leaves just enough unexplained to maintain the creep factor throughout. "In the Light" is the weakest book of the cycle (although still quite good). It brings a needed resolution to the story, but it does it a little too abruptly.

  • Joe Zanetti
    2019-05-20 01:37

    In the Light is the fourth and final book in S.P. Miskowki's Skillute Cycle. A novella that brings an end to the terror that had plagued Skillute, Washington for decades. The story takes place some years after the events of Knock Knock and Astoria. It is broken up into three parts, each from the perspective of an individual character. Part one centers on Ruth, a young girl of eleven or twelve. Part two is Alicia, the wife of Henry Colquitt. Part three is Henry Colquitt, Marietta's son, and one of the main characters from Knock Knock.The book begins with Ruth running from two bullies, Orton and Gretchen. Desperate to escape them, Ruth clumsily slips through some barbed wire and stumbles upon the ruins of an old house, a house steeped in local legend. Stumbling through a morass of wild blackberries and grass, Ruth came upon a clearing and decided to sit. Scratching away at the cold, hard ground, she discovered a tiny metal lid. After some shifting and finagling, the lid came off. Inside were the charred remains of a baby, a secret that never should have been discovered. A secret that reawakened an ancient terror thought to have been put to eternal rest at the end of Knock Knock. Having no idea what she really discovered, Ruth takes the charred remains home, and what transpires is nothing short of terrifying, as Skillute is once again plunged into darkness and fear, ultimately leading to a climactic, pulse-pounding confrontation between the past and present. Miskowski weaves a tale that is charged with emotional depth, and permeated with a subtle terror that continuously builds, page after page. You can feel the terror slowly burrowing into your mind, body, and soul; eager to gestate within, as you are reluctant, yet excited, to turn to the next page. Miskowki's brilliance truly lies in her fluid prose; her ability to create an atmosphere redolent with fear, oppression, and a sense of otherness; and her development of flawed, believable characters. Just like the other books in the Skillute Cycle, In the Light is just as much a character study as it is a tale of Horror and the Weird, and Miskowski weaves it all together seamlessly. Ruth is relatively new to Skillute. Her parents work in real estate and make a great deal of money, providing them with an affluent life. They are constantly making improvements to their house, with the hopes of selling it later, but they are also looking to buy the Colquitt property. With her parents being so busy with work, Ruth, for the most part, is neglected, and not so much treated like a child, but more like an experiment. Her parents are always trying to revise or improve her, much like the houses they flip. She's forbidden to "dwell," "wallow," or "delve" into anything they considered to be weird. Any thoughts on the grim or morbid side were also forbidden, and considered dangerous; she was to focus on only the positive side of things. All of this may be a combination of her parents being concerned for Ruth, and also because they want to keep a squeaky clean image, and to maintain a happy, affluent life. In reality, Ruth's parents know absolutely nothing about her, and any thoughts and ideas they have about her are completely inaccurate. Because of her fascination with the macabre and all things weird, Ruth is very much an outsider in Skillute, she has absolutely nothing in common with her fellow classmates, so it's no surprise that she was hoping the charred remains she discovered might bring something fun and fascinating into her life; however, as time progressed--and the remains hidden under her bed--Ruth began to undergo a transformation. She began to act differently, displaying aggressiveness and committing cruel acts; she was taken over by an ancient evil. When the big snowfall hit Skillute, schools were closed and everyone barricaded themselves in their homes. Ruth's mother was going stir crazy, and grew tired of Ruth being in the house the whole time, so she sent her out into snow-covered streets. All the snow created an isolated, alien world, and it all belonged to Ruth, as she instinctively made her way to the Colquitt's. Henry and Alicia Colquitt are not the same as they were in Knock Knock. The terrible tragedy that took place forever changed them, especially Henry. He used to be a man of conviction. He was a community man who loved to help in any way he could. He gave sermons in his makeshift church; he provided food and other services for the elderly. He and Alicia were always attending dinner parties, and loved to dress in nice clothes. Alicia loved to organize charities, babysit, assist Henry in ceremonies, and even made mortgage payment for a neighbor who was on the verge of losing their house. Once tragedy struck their family, though, everything changed. The Colquitt's, over time, began to give in to shyness, becoming introverts. They kept their shades down, and even disconnected their land line; they experienced social death, as they cut off contact from almost everyone. Henry even gave up giving sermons at his church. Preaching was pointless. He realized that no one ever listened to what he had to say, and never took responsibility for their actions and words. He was a broken man, whose life was mired in scandal and a bizarre tragedy. To give himself some kind of purpose, Henry came up with the idea to build a shelter for the homeless, but to no avail. He tried to persuade the Dempsey's to get on board with it, but they wouldn't hear of it. The residents of Skillute objected to change, rejecting anything that was unfamiliar to them. Henry was "upsetting the balance of the world." Through all of this, Henry learned just how stubborn and brutish the world can be. Developing such rich, multi-layered characters really draws you into the entire Skillute Cycle. These characters are no different from you and I. Some are nice, and some are mean. Some of these characters make bad decisions, whether it's out of selfishness or to help others. You take a vested interest in their lives, their personalities, their flaws and idiosyncrasies. And the lurking, under the surface terror that pervades everything, it plays a role in emphasizing the lives and problems of these characters, and illuminates a variety of issues that this book--and the whole series--is about. In the Light also delves into that sense of otherness that is such a potent ingredient of Weird Fiction. While the other books certainly have that ingredient, In the Light outright addresses it:What did Henry call it? The vast. The unknown always beside us, breathing with us, its face inclined toward ours when the lamp is turned off. Spirit, or shadow, that which disappears in the light. It had a thousand names and no one knew its origin or nature.That is the essence of the Weird, and it's there, right outside the periphery of everyone. In Skillute, reality as perceived by its residents is not what it appears to be. And for the case of some people involved, you are not what you think you are, and the revelations are nothing short of devastating. I won't give away spoilers, but In the Light is the perfect end to an incredible series. The Skillute Cycle isn't just about an otherwordly horror. It's about broken families and fractured childhoods. It's people trying to escape their past, only to learn that they must face it, and come to terms with it. It's about the power of legend and folklore, and how legend can sometimes become fact. And it's also about forgiveness and second chances. Miskowki's world has left an indelible mark on me. She has set the bar really high, and exemplifies the kind of Horror and storytelling that others in the field should strive to write. I enjoyed my time in Skillute immensely. The thing about Skillute, though, is that it will always find a way to bring you back. In fact, I can already feel it's pull. It's only a matter of time. Oh, one more thing. Miskowski gets bonus points for referencing Nikolai Gogol's The Overcoat.

  • Awnna Marie Evans
    2019-05-19 02:33

    I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.I'll confess that I haven't read the rest of The Skillute Cycle--though I probably will now. And the beauty of this novella is that you can read it independently and still understand what's going on. It was a full, captivating story from top to bottom. Honestly, I found it a bit disturbing in the beginning. Miskowski's done a wonderful job weaving in the changes happening to Ruthie as she's taken over by some force. She's a middle-man, of course, it's not out to get her, as she just happened to stumble upon a box of bones in the forest and unleashed this entity. But you can tell, in the beginning, she's already a vulnerable child, a bit disturbed, but as it goes on you just know she's not herself anymore, and Miskowski doesn't even have to tell you. As soon as the first third of the novel ended--the part written in Ruthie's point of view--I was deeply unsettled. And since this isn't an outright horror novel, I was impressed. I definitely enjoy it when a book can get to me.However, I didn't find the other two point of view characters, the Colquitts, to be quite as interesting or well-developed. Because you don't see Alicia turning into this entity as it takes her over, and you don't see Henry being quite as emotional as the others. I wasn't as attached to them, but I was pulled back into the story at the end when Henry "rescued" Ruthie through his actions that I will not spoil. Overall, I found it a great read and I'll be picking up the first books in the series ASAP. Thanks!

  • Simon Forward
    2019-05-01 01:25

    I run the risk of repeating myself when it comes to reviewing this novella. S P Miskowski is an author who really knows her craft and has created a living, breathing community through her series of connected stories, including Knock Knock, Astoria and this instalment, In The Light. Her gift for characterisation and rich background detail not only conveys how intimately she knows her characters, but also paints them so vividly for the reader. We have here that rare combination of portrait and landscape artist who just happens to paint with words instead of oils etc.Much of what I said of Astoria holds true here. The story is a compelling slow-burner, with a pace befitting a sleepy small town atmosphere, but it's not something you want to hurry. Indeed, the only downside is that the endings of both stories for me ran somewhat counter to that slow-burn and by contrast felt too rushed. NB not that the writing was at all rushed, because the care and thought that goes into these tales is consistently in evidence. But once the strands come together it is all too quick that everything is tied up and it's all over too quickly for my tastes.Then again, that's the trouble with a novella. It's just too damned short ;)All in all though, despite that one qualifier, these are so exquisitely drawn once you're through reading you'd ideally like to frame them and hang them in some gallery in the imagination. Somewhere in the Gothic Wing of your personal mind palace.

  • Regan
    2019-05-16 00:14

    This is the third, and final, installment of the Skillute cycle. I’ve become quite attracted to S.P.’s writing style. Her poetic composition is beautifully woven together to create yet another intriguing tale of the creepy history of Skillute.The child in this story is new to Skillute. Her parents are avid house flippers and moved from Seattle proper to the small, obscure town of Skillute. She doesn’t fit in with peers. She doesn’t fit in at home. She is very displaced and bullied. During a bullying incident, she runs through a field to get away from her aggressors. She stumbles upon a buried tool box. What she finds not only intrigues her, but changes the outcome of her life in Skillute.This short novel was captivating and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed the series as a whole. S.P. Miskowski is a fantastic author. Everything from plot design to character development. The only thing about this novel that bothered me was the ending. I felt it was like a really good horror movie that leaves an Easter Egg at the end leaving it open for the potential of further stories. If this is truly the case, then I look forward to more!

  • Spencer
    2019-04-23 01:14

    This was a very satisfying ending to the Skillute Cycle and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey.The book is beautifully written, very hard to put down and finishes perfectly.Miskowski really does remind me of Stephen King; she understands people, dialogue, and manages to write intricate stories that weave together perfectly, although I would say that Miskowski writes quieter horror, with a subtle hand. The only particular problem I had with the book would be the dodgy cover art (I didn't like the art for Astoria as well!) which might put people off, however I hope it doesn't as these books have been wonderful!

  • Christina Alessi
    2019-05-16 21:25

    GoodI didn't like this one as much as the others but then again, it had been a while since I read them so I struggled to remember some of what had happened and who the characters were. Would like to read them all in sequence again.