Downwind, Alice – by C.C. Adams – Book Review (Novella)

Hey, kids! I’m excited to share my review of Downwind, Alice today because…. yessssss YESSSSSSSS finally! One of my favourite subgenres!!

This is a non-spoiler review, which is really difficult because I’d love to dissect this story in greater detail.

Book TW: Rape (the word is used, but there are no depictions of it and no trauma relating to it discussed).

Meet Alice Morecambe.

After two years away, a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend Kieran proves awkward and sours when Alice lashes out at him, before storming off. An unfortunate turn of events that would soon blow over, right?


Because, unfortunately for Alice, Kieran is …different now.

For the last couple of years, Kieran has kept a tight rein on more than his feelings – but now he’s going to do more than tell Alice how he really feels.

He’s going to show her.

And Alice won’t know what’s downwind until it’s too late.

Do you have any idea how delightful it is when a writer you’ve met in person sends you a book for review, and you LOVE it? Especially if this is your first time reading them, so when you agreed to the review, you had no idea if their writing would appeal to you? C.C. Adams is great.

This is a highly entertaining rendition of that old fable, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” – not by any means a carbon copy of the original tale, but a uniquely horrifying take on the concept. We start with Alice, who has recently finished a prison sentence, and people are a little… off… with her. Immediately, Adams sets up great intrigue here as we wonder what the hell it is she did. It turns out that she did indeed do something pretty heinous to someone, which I enjoyed immensely because it put me in conflict with myself about how to feel about her. I wasn’t so much backing our protagonist as I was spitefully hoping to see her get what was coming to her.

And then… she starts getting what’s coming to her and it’s awful. I thought I had zero sympathy for people who do what she did – it’s one of those “oh look, the consequences of my actions” sort of things. She served her time, yes, but it doesn’t undo the trauma she inflicted on someone else. This set-up was already interesting enough, and then Adams goes ahead and throws in another enormous element that turns the story on its head. I thought I knew what I was in for, and I was already hooked, and then he brings this other concept in? Dude… YES!

Just as I was thinking “okay, what’s happening to her is very disproportianate to what she really deserves”, I changed my mind and got mad at her all over again. Because she does something else… manipulates someone with a lie, proving that even prison did not, in fact, teach her a lesson, and she has therefore not developed as a person at all. Does this mean that what continues to happen to her is right and just? Well…. no, I guess not. Not when you actually think about it. But I’ll tell you this, I stopped wishing for her survival despite my empathy for her experience.

What Adams does in this book is impressive – you get the twisting of the fable, the great hook, the inner and outer conflict (and as a reader, your own inner conflict about how to feel), the themes (more on those in a second), and a large degree of cleverness in how he goes about discussing certain things: case in point, Alice lies about something very serious, and then ends up experiencing at least a part of the fear that comes with the lived experience of what she lied about.

And oh gosh, I’ve not even mentioned the actual horror, have I? It’s layered. You get your good, old-fashioned HORROR horror, complete with blood and guts and all that great stuff, and those scenes that have you holding your breath. And then you get the psychological horror of what each and every character is going through – there are so many edges to this.

Thematically, it’s gold. It’s very much a story about consequences but is in no way a straight-forward tale of karma, because the retribution is so twisted. It’s also a story of the duality of people, the face you show others and then the one barely anyone knows. It’s about repression and liberation, natural instinct and impulse, metamorphosis, and for better or for worse, change.

I feel a heavy-spoiler review of this story coming – I want to talk about it so much more. In fact, if you’ve read it, please discuss it with me!

I’d recommened this to a general horror audience – it’s a truly great read.

If you’d like to get your own copy, you can find it here:


If you’d like to learn more about the author, you can find him here:


If you’d like to check out the publisher and their other releases, you can find them here:


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