I picked up Caught directly from MLS Weech at his book launch in Glen Burnie, MD. I think that was back in early 2017, so I’m sorry to say it took me a while to get to this one.
So, yeah, in case it’s not clear enough, here’s my disclosure: Weech is a friend. He’s also an imaginative and vivid writer. Spoiler-free review follows.
This horror novel had been on my TBR that entire time. What really pushed me to read it was a) Weech is currently reading my book, so I certainly can’t just not return the favor. And b) we’re sharing a table at Awesome Con in DC in just three months. I’d like to be able to tell visitors to that event that I’ve read at least something my fellow author and friend has written.
Caught follows a group of people who seem to be trapped in their own nightmares. The opening chapters are deliberately discombobulating for both the reader and the characters, as everyone alike is flung into a world where the line between nightmare and reality is entirely blurred.
Weech paints a terrifying picture of what happens when our worst fears/nightmares are exploited against us. This initial jolt leaves the reader confused, wishing to escape the characters’ personal horror while being pulled in with them, simply wanting to know why.
The why is great, and is brilliantly revealed in snippets throughout most of the story. A second group of characters is introduced, and it becomes clear that they have a mission. But the details of that mission, and even their means to complete it, are left hanging loosely by a thread until the very end.
Each of the characters are distinct in their voice and motivations, and their increasing interplay throughout keeps the story moving while providing some grounding for the reader. I think Chris was my favorite POV character, even if he is a bit stubborn. Kaitlyn is by far the most interesting character, and I think Weech agrees, considering his recent follow-up to Caught.
The one downside to this was that certain scenes felt stunted by the blurriness of the nightmares that the characters so often inhabited. Without giving anything away, it was sometimes difficult to tell what actions actually occurred and which did not. The characters would be equally confused, but little explanation would be offered as to just how real their dreams could be.
I think Weech did a fabulous job at keeping the true direction of the story, and the final twist, a secret from the reader. But in doing so, smaller details may have been lost in the fog. Perhaps upon a second read these pieces will fall into place.
I gave Caught 4-star reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. I was not sure if it would be in my wheelhouse going in, but I really enjoyed it.
The narrative direction this story goes is both surprising in the moment and completely logical in retrospect. I was so distracted by the initial horror that I was blinded to where Weech was taking me. Once the main narrative kicks off, Caught becomes a suspenseful ride filled with intrigue. Through the final third, I basically couldn’t put it down.