Brian Moreland’s outstanding novella, THE WITCHING HOUSE, established him as a master of the form and one of the better horror authors in the field today, so I was excited for the release of his newest book. The novella, when done right, is my favorite form of horror fiction and Brian Moreland pulls it off flawlessly in DARKNESS RISING.
From the DARKNESS RISING synopsis on Amazon
It’s all fun and games until…
Marty Weaver, an emotionally scarred poet, has been bullied his entire life. When he drives out to the lake to tell an old friend that he’s fallen in love with a girl named Jennifer, Marty encounters three sadistic killers who have some twisted games in store for him. But Marty has dark secrets of his own buried deep inside him. And tonight, when all the pain from the past is triggered, when those secrets are revealed, blood will flow and hell will rise.
Every now and then I’ll read a book and completely lose myself in the story just for the sheer fun of it. DARKNESS RISING is such a book. It’s a rousing and brutal joyride of sadistic murder and bloody revenge that adds up to pure, unadulterated escapism.
At times reminiscent of Norman Partridge’s DARK HARVEST, Moreland’s newest book moves along at a breakneck pace, hurtling you toward the story’s shocking conclusion. I was so involved in Marty Weaver’s story, I read it cover to cover with no real sensation of the passage of time. Moreland’s pacing is perfect and the themes of abuse, love, and revenge interwoven throughout the book are consistent and coherent, and while there are a few feel-good moments in the story, it is ultimately designed to shock you and scare the hell out of you and it does it’s job well. And Moreland’s characters are interesting and believable. Marty Weaver is a well-developed, sympathetic and likable protagonist and I had a very easy time getting behind him and caring about the outcome of his story.
For a short book, weighing in at 113 pages, DARKNESS RISING packs a big punch. It’s filled with unexpected twists, turns, and action throughout and is an overall strong, well written, and effective horror story penned by a craftsman who can hold his own with the best in the business. Though this is only the second Brian Moreland book I’ve read, he hasn’t failed to impress me and I will seek out the rest of his work with enthusiasm. If you haven’t read Brian’s work yet, DARKNESS RISING is a badass little book and a fantastic place to start.