Our very own Frank Giovinazzi has posted a novella online, and it’s free. After seeing it mentioned both in the original post and in every post of Frank’s since then (grin), I decided I had to try it out. I’m not a huge fan of modern horror fiction (like Stephen King), but I enjoy the older stuff, and since Frank mentions H.P. Lovecraft, I figured, “Hey, it’s pretty short!” I like Dean Koontz, too, so I guess I’m not completely down on modern horror fiction.
I don’t think it was just my low expectations. The book is actually quite good.
And if Frank was an established author with an editor and everything, I might leave it at that. But he’s not, so I won’t. By publishing a book without a paid editor, he pretty much opens himself up for detailed critical analysis, and I shall provide just a smidgen.
My biggest problem with the book had to do with the protagonist’s prediction of police action regarding Beefy. Given that one stereotype about small southern towns is that the cops are always in on the bad stuff – a stereotype alluded to during a retelling of previous events – it is by no means an assumption of this reader that the police would respond positively to revelations about Beefy, and yet they do, just as the protagonists observes that they probably already have. The scene was just a little odd, though obviously necessary at some level for events later in the book.
The scene near the end where the shadows play out the next few days in advance was a little odd, too. It wasn’t clear why this happened, or how Bobby Halloway managed to see several days worth of shadow-play in less than real time. Unfortunately, these questions – or at least the first one – kept poking me in the brain as I read, and distracted me from the climax just a little bit. I don’t quite know how to fix that one either, and it may be just that it can’t easily be fixed.
Still, those two complaints aside, the book was gripping and enjoyable to read. Told from the perspective of Bobby Holloway, perhaps my second question just doesn’t need answered. He doesn’t know why the shadows did what they did, so how could explain it?
It’s a good read. The right people have justice meted out (or will at any rate), and a few innocents are trapped in the process, but that’s life and Frank doesn’t shy away from it.