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Sequel's Book Nook: Big Bad by Chandler Baker

woman reading a book

Chandler Baker's Big Bad is the sixth installment in Amazon's Creature Feature series, and it delivers a chilling tale set in an isolated farmhouse where fear and rage simmer beneath the surface. Baker, known for her bestselling works Whisper Network and Cutting Teeth, brings her signature style to this short read, weaving a story that is both tense and eerie.

big bad book cover

The Strauss family is at the center of this tale. Sam, the stay-at-home dad, harbors resentment; Rachel, his wife, feels the restlessness stirring within her; and their children are growing increasingly unruly. As if their internal struggles weren't enough, a recent mudslide has driven wolves out of the woods, making the family’s isolated home even more vulnerable. As night falls, the Strausses must confront not only the threats lurking outside but also the festering issues within their own family dynamic.

Overall, Big Bad is a decent read. While the plot does veer into the realm of predictability at times, this does not significantly detract from the story’s impact. The premise of a family under siege—both from external dangers and internal discord—is compelling and keeps the reader engaged throughout.

However, the brevity of the story works against it in some ways. The characters feel more like sketches than fully realized individuals. Sam’s resentment, Rachel’s restlessness, and the children’s misbehavior are established but not deeply explored. As a result, they come across as mere caricatures rather than complex, fleshed-out characters. A longer format would have allowed Baker to dive deeper into their psyches, adding layers and nuance to their personalities and motivations.

Despite these shortcomings, Big Bad succeeds in creating an atmosphere of tension and suspense. Baker’s writing is crisp and effectively paints the grim scenario the Strauss family finds themselves in. The primal fear of predators lurking outside juxtaposed with the psychological horror within the household makes for an engaging, if somewhat surface-level, read.

In conclusion, Big Bad by Chandler Baker is a gripping short story that offers a quick thrill. While it could benefit from more character development and a deeper exploration of its themes, it still manages to deliver a satisfying, if not entirely unpredictable, narrative. Fans of Baker’s previous work and those who enjoy a good creature feature will find it worth their time.

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