You could say that she has a niche; you could also say that she has a knack for that niche – a real niche knack.
Alma Katsu inserts horror into historical fiction – she takes actual events from the past, creates a fictional narrative into the event, and then scares the living daylights out of you. She is a pro at this.
The Fervor was personal for Alma Katsu. As a Japanese American, she was able to get a firsthand account of what was really going on at the internment camp from people who were on the inside. I think that we can all agree that this was a dark time in our past, all the scarier because it really wasn’t that long ago that citizens had their rights taken away from them for no other reason than their race. What I find even scarier is that we seem to be moving back in that direction, making The Fervor not only terrifying but relevant.
Katsu told her story through a fantastic cast of characters, she allowed us into their deepest, darkest thoughts and created a connection between her readers and her characters. There is a supernatural/horror aspect to The Fervor, but in all honesty, this takes a back seat to the horror that people inflict on other people (that is always the scariest – because it’s true).
I went with the Audible version of The Fervor. Two Japanese narrators were used, this upped the authenticity of the story being told; Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Louis Ozawa did an excellent job. The only complaint that I have is that since a cast was used instead of one narrator, they could have added a third narrator to cover some of the other characters, like the bigoted sheriff, then again, I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s, fair is fair.