Today I am sharing my belated review of The Dark Matter of Natasha by Matthew R. Davis for the ongoing blog tour. My original date on the tour was 18th June, but as that was my wedding day, I didn’t get my review up, but here it is!
Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer.
What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?
When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he’s drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s fresh introduction to her half-lit world is darkly appealing. Now faced with confusing quandaries—connection or convenience, relationship or exploitation—can he help any of the women in his life? Or is he just helping himself?
The untold tragedies of Natasha’s lonely life may be more than he can handle. And in a town whose history is littered with dead girls, there may be no happy ending for anyone.
A tar-black coming of age story, this gritty psychological thriller from Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Matthew R. Davis, eloquently chronicles the crushing gravity of small-town hopelessness, the double-edged catharsis of sex, drugs, and heavy metal, and the brutal weight of youth’s first lessons in accountability.
After reading the blurb for The Dark Matter of Natasha, I was immediately intrigued by it, but after reading, I can honestly say that this book was nothing like what I had suspected, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.
The opening lines were so in your face and unexpected that I didn’t know how I was going to feel about this one to begin with, but then I really started to get in to it. I became strangely invested in the teenage tragedies, and couldn’t seem to stop reading.
The story delves in to the mind of a teenage boy, living in a small town. This surprised me a little as I assumed that Natasha would be our main character, but instead it is the unnamed teenage boy who’s story we follow. I liked that the main character remains unnamed as I felt that it made me as a reader see things almost as though I was living the story myself instead of reading someone elses. The author explores the deepest thoughts and feelings of the teenage years, and I’m sure that most people can relate to at least one aspect of that.
There are multiple serious subjects covered in the book, including severe mental health struggles, drug use, and the pressures of teenage life. It shows the effect these things have on young people in a very real way, and I hope that it opens some people’s eyes to these situations. One thing I did really enjoy about this story was the way it shows heavy metal music in a more positive light. So often it is used or perceived in a negative way which is totally inaccurate, but with this story that wasn’t the case, instead it was shown as an escape, a light in the darkness, which to many people including myself it has been.
This book was unquestionably dark, intense, totally unexpected, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I can imagine that this is not a book for everyone, but I personally really enjoyed it, and would definitely recommend it if this is your sort of thing.
I give The Dark Matter of Natasha a 4 star rating!
Praise For The Dark Matter of Natasha:
“A searing indictment of the selfishness of youth and the injustices of an uncaring world. Bleak, poignant, and dripping with pathos. Powerful stuff.” — Alan Baxter, Australian Shadows Award-winning author of Served Cold, The Gulp and the Eli Carver Supernatural Thriller series
“The Dark Matter of Natasha is a pitch-perfect threnody of small-town despair, a super-collision of sex, Slayer, and the cosmic indifference of infinite space.” — J. Ashley-Smith, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of Ariadne, I Love You and The Attic Tragedy
“The Dark Matter of Natasha is a haunting coming-of-age story told with confidence and razor-sharp insight. Equal parts tawdry, irreverent and as dark as the space between stars, Matthew R. Davis serves up a soiled platter of sexual awakening guaranteed to leave a mark.” — John C. Foster, author of Rooster and The Isle
About The Author:
Matthew R. Davis is an author and musician based in Adelaide, South Australia.
His work has been shortlisted for, and sometimes won, the Shirley Jackson Awards, Aurealis Awards, Australian Shadows Awards, and the WSFA Small Press Award.
He plays bass and sings in heavy rock/metal bands such as icecocoon and Blood Red Renaissance, dabbles with poetry, video editing, and visual art, and works on projects with his photographer partner.
He is the author of Supermassive Black Mass (novelette, Demain Publishing, 2019), If Only Tonight We Could Sleep (horror stories, Things in the Well, 2020) and Midnight in the Chapel of Love (novel, JournalStone, 2021).
He loves all kinds of metal from Mötley Crüe to Pig Destroyer and his favorite Slayer album is Seasons in the Abyss.
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