Scream Horror Magazine


Posted on: November 24th, 2016

A successful author, Blake Price, has moved away from the city for the respite of the country with his wife and son. As a bonding exercise, he and his son, Ricky, go out looking for hidden treasures with a metal detector. They find and dig up an unusual and intriguing picture frame. They soon discover that some things are better left buried.

It’s an enjoyable premise for the story. Whomever’s picture is placed in the cursed frame is destined for a sticky end. It’s in the vein of Final Destination but with much more subtlety. As the picture frame curse takes hold we closely follow the decline of the family. There are deaths and violence related to the pictures in the frame, but the tension comes from watching how the continuous negative events take their toll. You can really feel the stress that the family (especially Blake) is under trying to hold everyone else together. There can also be no greater threat than having your child in danger and feeling helpless when it comes to preventing it. It’s an emotional ride as the plot develops and you find out about the terrible trauma that happened to the family even before the picture frame was uncovered.

The fairly isolated location and small cast of characters means you get to know them well, raising your empathy for their plight. There was one character who annoyed not only all the others, but the reader as well, and it was a joy to see her perish. That sounds a bit morbid, but it made me smile. Despite the suffocating situation of the family, there are some more light-hearted moments. I especially liked the satire about Black Price’s books and selling out to write a teen vampire book called Twinkle.

the-picture-frame-book-coverWhen the local historian, Thatcher, provides the history of the frame, the curse, and the town of Redlake it’s a fascinating and intriguing story. On one hand, he gives you context and explains a great deal, but on the other hand, it took me a little out of the story, removing some of the mystery and pulling a little away from the subtle reality. The situation intensifies and becomes more desperate, leading to an ending, which is satisfying and fitting for the themes that run throughout the book. This book has a fantastic epilogue too. The final twist in the tale could not have been better. Visit Iain’s website at

Reviewed by Andrew Tadman. @thebooksofblood

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