A review by shecamefromouterspace
Welcome Descent by Cam Wolfe


3.5 stars

I have been a fan of Cam Wolfe’s YouTube channel for several years now; he makes some of the best reading/writing related content on the platform. I have been anticipating this debut horror novel since he first talked about it on his channel a couple of years ago, back when he was still in the process of writing it. To be honest, knowing that this is a self-published work from a newish indie author, my expectations were not super high. But I was pleasantly surprised - even impressed - with how good the story is. There was just one major drawback to this book that I did not enjoy, which may just be a matter of personal preference anyway.

Welcome Descent follows Joseph Ridley, a curmudgeonly man in his 40s who has hit rock bottom. He has not seen or spoken to his wife and son for years, but the reader does not initially know why. Having separated from his family, he cannot afford the fancy cars and suits that used to bring him so much pride. So he drinks to numb himself, and is an insufferable dickhead to everyone around him.

I love unlikeable protagonists, so right from the jump I was invested in Joseph’s story. I wanted to know more about his past, what happened to his wife and son. When a major storm hits Joe’s apartment complex, he begins to see and experience horrible things, many of which are memories that haunt him. Through these memories, the reader learns more and more about Joe’s history and the events that led to him becoming the asshole to which the reader is first introduced. The reader cannot help but sympathize with him, especially as he endures nightmarish visions of gore and death and hideous creatures.

I have only one complaint about the story, but it did significantly affect my enjoyment of it. I am a very pragmatic, left-brained sort of person, so I am the type of reader who likes stories to follow rules and logic. Even if it is a fantasy or horror story in which impossible things can happen, I like there to be an explanation for it. My problem with Welcome Descent is that Joseph’s nightmarish visions are never fully explained. There is a creepy guy, Samuel Bub, that Joe talks to before the storm hits, who says a lot of spooky and cryptic things about the storm that foreshadow what will happen to Joe. We know the storm is the cause of Joe’s visions, and Bub is also involved. But how? Why? Is the storm haunted? Is Bub a demon or something? Does he control the storm, or is he just a messenger? I wish I knew more about how the storm works, because not knowing left me feeling confused throughout the otherwise very well-written horror scenes.

Overall though, this was a good, solid story. I hope Wolfe continues to write and hone his craft, because I can see there is a lot of raw storytelling talent within him. I look forward to future releases from him, as I will definitely be picking those up as well.