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This is leaning more on the creepy factor than the scary factor. There are zombies (or whatever you want to call these undead people), but they are perhaps the most polite zombies that I've ever seen. Perhaps not polite by human standards, but they're only about as bad as an obnoxiously loud neighbor. No breaking into your home or trying to kill you. But these undead are persistent and also have their flesh rotting off their bones. Why did the author have the grand-daughter wake up in feir car and then head back to the area? Other than adding some confusion about what exactly is going on (and what, if anything, was just a premonition/dream), it doesn't do anything to help the story. But I think the author actually wants to add that extra layer of confusion, because then it can come across as mysterious or disconcerting. As for the recounting of the local funerary customs, I think it would've been nice if some more details were included. Was it only a small minority of corpses that got overturned in the river? Was the fact that some corpses were getting overturned the reason why this practice was put to an end? Why did this custom first begin? And what were the requirements for the straw mats? Like, we know they were willing to stick two straw mats together for the tall guy, but could they have shaped the mats to create a canoe-like structure or something? It's just...I dunno. It just comes across like a stupid custom. Which is probably the point, I guess. That the inertia behind traditions can lead to people doing dumb things.
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