In The Fall of Never, author Ronald Damien Malfi reimagines a Frankensteinian creation story and reaches for the appropriate gothic elements to do it.
Documentary filmmaker and prodigal daughter Kelly Rich is summoned home because of her sister's health after having survived a mysterious assault. Kelly herself is none too healthy, feeling bits of herself slip away into her suspiciously buried past and childhood. Kelly lived parts of her life as a nightmare, but how much of the horror was perpetrated upon her, and how much sprang from her own mind?
Married at 18 as a form of escape from her oppressive household, Kelly can't quite recall why home was so stifling, why she hates her aloof parents (or why they seemed to hate her). And what about Simple Simon, the boy she played with as a child? Where did he come from, and what happened to him after she left? Why is her fate so closely connected with his?
The family mansion is a true gothic setting: cold, empty and remote, set on a wooded hillside, peopled with servants who act strangely and a family whose hushed tones hide volumes—the Rich household might as well reside in a different century. This setting wars a bit with Kelly's New York City life, but then that's the point. Her new life was a conscious and intentional reversal of her beginnings, but now those two sides come crashing together in unexpected ways.
In the parallel story which begins with Kelly before being summoned home, Kelly's friend Josh, who's working on a documentary with her, their subject, the elderly Nellie Worthridge, and the dedicated Dr. Carlos Mendes, all become connected to Kelly's fate through a bizarre set of circumstances that ensnares them to the very thing that has led to Kelly's summons.