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The Narrows

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  37 reviews
“I can show you how to enter the Narrows to find what you seek.”

Oliver and his friends have returned to their hometown of Shumard, Texas for the funeral of their close friend Noah. They each grapple with the loss in their own ways, trying to understand the strange circumstances of their friend’s unexpected death.

While visiting the site where the body was found, Oliver stum
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Independently published
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Jennifer (bunnyreads)

The death of a friend reunites Oliver and the rest of their circle as they gather to say goodbye and try to come to terms with their loss.


Don’t pick this book up expecting a full-on horror story. Don’t get me wrong, there is some nice thick atmosphere that helps set the tone for all the creepy moments and the build to the end, once we meet the Knave, is nicely amped-up (and I thought done very well) but I found this leaves you, not so much horrified but instead with that unsettled feeling
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Last year I read and enjoyed two other books by Travis Riddle: Wondrous and Balam, Spring. Both of those did very well with world-building, at times going into exceptional detail and giving the books a slice-of-life feel. I was not surprised that The Narrows was just as well done, but that that is about the only similarity I can find between this book and those other two. “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

I have heard reviews that compare The Narrows to Stranger Things from Netflix and I th
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A unique and satisfying contemporary fantasy story

The Narrows is a quick, fairly short standalone that tells the story of a group of friends returning to the small town they grew up in for a funeral. The writing is fairly polished, aside from the occasional odd phrasing. I have only a mild complaint about how many plates of food were described in these 200 pages. Nitpicks aside, the writing was very smooth and successfully sets the tone for the story. The mystery of The Narrows is introduced fai
Calvin Park
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Narrows by Travis M. Riddle is a story that mixes Stranger Things with a more modern setting, older characters, and deep pain for those characters. It’s an interesting read that definitely fits in the slightly spooky holiday reads category.

As always with Riddle’s work, you won’t find simple, flat characters here. The protagonists here are well drawn and believable. What’s more they each—especially Oliver, the main character—struggle with difficulties, pain, questions of friendship and loss.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
What a fantastic story! Once again, if the plot and writing style somehow aren't enough to grab you, then the characters most definitely will.

Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

The Narrows is a spooky little horror story that combines a myriad of components to create a compelling, imaginative, and highly entertaining story. This is a great book to read for the Halloween and holiday reading period, as it has a wonderfully mysterious atmosphere that pervades the entire book as we
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction to the author. It is exciting and written in such a way that 20-somethings will identify greatly with the characters.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Full review is here on my blog!~

This is the story of Oliver, who is recently back in his hometown to attend the funeral of one of his best friends from high school. What Oliver discovers when he is visiting the place in which his friend Noah allegedly committed suicide is a man melt into a gross mushroom-filled orange liquid accompanied by a loud buzzing sound. All this culminates into Oliver discovering another world known as The Narrows, and he knows that this place and its creepy denizens are
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
I couldn’t tell whether the stronger vibe here was that of Stranger Things, or IT. A group of friends, a death, an entirely creepy parallel universe of decay - all combined to make The Narrows an eerie and yet somehow relatable plunge into darkness.

Riddle’s real strength here is his characterisation. Each deeply affected by the death of their friend, each dealing with their own stuff, and each as expertly cast as the other, Riddle spends an important amount of time on them, and it pays off. As t
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
I was almost halfway through The Narrows before I realized I was almost halfway through and it dawned on me that by normal definitions, maybe not a lot had happened. I say this not as a criticism but as a kudos to how the author can draw you in without a lot of action and you won't even notice the lack!

A creepy slice-of-life and portal fantasy to a world you definitely don't want to go with characters you absolutely care about.
Andrew Butcher
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended for: Fans of Stranger Things, kolaches, and Mario Kart--especially Mario Kart!

The Narrows is a quick, enjoyable read with a bit of spookiness and some very unusual happenings. There's a lot to like in this book, such as the small-town feel, the well-developed characters, a bit of mystery, and the general eerie vibe that permeates the whole story.

All the characters--except maybe the main character's mother, who just seemed to cry a lot--felt fully realised, had their own manners of sp
Lucien Grey
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had the pleasure of reading "The Narrows" over the past few days. This is the first of Travis M. Riddle's works I've read, and it definitely has convinced me to check out his other works in the future. I purchased a physical copy based on its artwork, and I'm happy to say I don't regret it.

My synopsis:

'"The Narrows" is a very real-feeling horror-fantasy story about a group of young adults processing the sudden death of an estranged high school friend named Noah. The events take place in their
Jason Aycock
Travis M. Riddle delivers a dark and creepy exploration into the memory of place and friendship in The Narrows.

I actually read The Narrows as part of my Spooky Reads back in October. As sometimes *often* happens with me one thing led to another and I am just now getting to write-up this review. But maybe it’s fitting since the book is set around Christmas. Thankfully I took notes as I read.

The Narrows is told from a single point of view; that of Oliver. He has just returned home for the funeral
Ella (The Story Collector)
Oliver, Sophie and Davontae have returned to their home town of Shumard, Texas for the funeral of their friend, Noah. Each are dealing with the shock and loss in their own way, but things take an unexpected turn when Oliver gets a glimpse of a world parallel to their own. Visited by a dark being known as the Knave, Oliver soon finds himself dragged into a chilling adventure and questioning what really happened to Noah.

First things first, I have to say I adore the cover of this book. It’s a beaut
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review

The Narrows by Travis M Riddle is a short and enjoyable supernatural mystery/horror novel with engaging and interesting characters

In The Narrows, a group of friends has returned to their hometown for the funeral of an old friend. They reminisce and catch up with old acquaintances, but the main character sees or hears a number of disturbing things that cast doubt on the circumstances of his friend’s death, and becomes e
Kyle Dougherty
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbrindr
“Like Stranger Things but with adults. Also Mario Kart.” 5/5

This is a book about friendships as you age, grief, and a hidden supernatural world. This book really nailed all of these areas. I honestly would have read a version of this book without the supernatural elements, the other parts feel that strong. The author's description of the world of the Narrows just adds that much more.

The story takes place around the main character Oliver as him and his friends gather back in their hometown to mou
Jenna Jaco
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: precious-babies
Do you like suburban fantasy horror about friendship and grief?

You will now!

First off, it's amazing Riddle crams all of that into such a short book. The fantasy and horror genres both have a reputation for bloated narrative in pursuit of being "epic" -- something Riddle expertly avoids in The Narrows. This book is an exercise in restraint; the story feels distilled to its most potent and emotionally powerful components. I never thought I'd describe a story that involves this much goo as "elegant
Nov 03, 2018 rated it liked it
An altogether enjoyable tale mostly about friendship and its different forms and intricacies. The thing that stands out in this book, as most other reviewers have touched on, is its characters. By the end of the book they are all wonderfully fleshed out and feel very real. There was one point where I initially questioned their combined motivation but reflected on their actions up to that point and happily accepted the situation.

What's somewhat uncharacteristic for me in a book is that I enjoyed
Tim Simmons
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I very much enjoyed The Narrows. It manages so much in relatively few pages. Riddle's ability to create interesting and believable characters is amazing. I cared about Oliver, Sophie and Davontae from the opening pages. The horror elements in the story are balanced, they blend naturally with the poignant internal struggles Oliver experiences and the heart-warming interactions he has with his friends.

I wouldn't miss this because horror "isn't your thing." You will be shaken more by what the book
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Riddle easily combines fantasy with tragedy, and a splash of terror. The Narrows is a dark and compelling novel. It’s a novel that keeps you immersed within the world the author has created long after you’ve completed it. The main character, Oliver, is relatable in all ways I can think of. The characters are all people I could see myself knowing in the real world. In all, it’s one of the greatest books I’ve read. I especially loved how Riddle was able to slip in a transgender character witho ...more
Alastor Moopy
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was quite Lovecraftian in its scope, I liked the descriptions of the 'parallel worlds' ruled by inhuman gods and hiding nasty, opportunistic little beasts in their crevices. There are moments of real, visceral horror here but I do wish that world had been explored a little more thoroughly.
The characters are typical young millennials, living more in the virtual world than outside it. But the theme of loss of childhood friendship and love was a sweet bell note that rang throughout the story
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an imagination author Travis Riddle has!

The Narrows slowly builds to a surprise near the middle of the book. The characters are well-described and so is the world they live in. I did waffle between 3-4 stars but, in my opinion, it is at least 3.5 stars. I did enjoy the paranormal part of the story very much and I hope you will, also.

Read via Kindle Unlimited
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great novel about grief and losing touch with childhood and the people in it, with a truly uncanny horror world lurking in the background. Definitely something that I would recommend to someone looking for some indie horror.
Siân Plummer (plumreads__s)
Review to come on

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this audiobook for review consideration
Angelina Singer
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic sci-fi horror with a creative concept!

The best way to describe this is something like Stranger Things, but the author takes it in a completely different direction with an ending that you wouldn't expect. I don't typically read this genre but I'm super glad I checked it out. Very cool, very creepy!
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this on reddit. The book was overall a nice story. Would recommend for a quick read. The story has a stranger things vibe.

Some little things bothered me as I read. The introduction of the characters felt too long, with way too many details. Wasn't sure when the meat was gonna come and almost gave up at one point. I ventured on and when it did take off I couldn't put the book down. Then the book came full circle and went back into too much detail during the closing.
Jason Aycock
Travis M. Riddle delivers a dark and creepy exploration into the memory of place and friendship in The Narrows.

I actually read The Narrows as part of my Spooky Reads back in October. As sometimes *often* happens with me one thing led to another and I am just now getting to write-up this review. But maybe it’s fitting since the book is set around Christmas. Thankfully I took notes as I read.

The Narrows is told from a single point of view; that of Oliver. He has just returned home for the funeral
To be reviewed.
Amara Moore
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam Wheeler
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Maybe closer to 3.5, this book may have suffered a bit from my own misplaced expectations.

I began reading this thinking it sounded a bit like a "Stranger Things" or an "It" type of story and while some of the elements were there, the older late 20s protagonists and the more modern setting made me realize just how much the nostagia rich setting and childlike fascination and wonder contributed to my enjoyment of those stories.

Riddle writes some well developed and believable characters, but unfortu
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TRAVIS M. RIDDLE lives with his pooch in Austin, TX, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English Writing & Rhetoric at St. Edward’s University. His work has been published in award-winning literary journal the Sorin Oak Review. ...more

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“Fuck y’all,” Sophia grimaced. “I’m leaving.” 0 likes
“When he got angry, or nervous, or regretful, or—the list went on—Oliver would imagine conversations in his head with people. He’d go through what he wanted to say to them but probably never would, or how he wished he’d handled something in retrospect. Over the past two years, he held a significant number of these conversations with Noah. He’d lay in bed at night, tossing and turning, thinking about what he wanted to say to his friend. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed like a need than a want. But he never said those things, and now he was never going to say those things. They would remain boiling frustrations in his head, bubbling over, threatening to spill out.” 0 likes
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