Darkness On The Edge Of Town
Leisure, February 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 264 pages, $7.99 US; $9.99 Canada
Review by Shannon Riley
Two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Brian Keene took the horror genre by storm with his 2003 novel The Rising and hasn’t slowed down since. Credited with ushering in the zombie movement in modern horror (along with filmmaker Danny Boyle), Keene’s influence in the field continues to grow. Recent novels like Castaways and Urban Gothic keep his fans hungry for more. His latest from Leisure, Darkness on the Edge of Town, is a fast-paced, character driven, post-apocalyptic nightmare spiced with a taste of Lovecraftian mythos, a modern day story with a nod to the genre’s past.
Darkness has descended upon the little town of Walden, not the natural darkness of night, but an oppressive and deadly darkness, a menace in and of itself that has obliterated the moon and stars and never ends. Held at bay outside the town by magical sigils, it seeps into the minds of the townspeople, taking control, twisting their emotions and playing their weaknesses against them as it tempts the unwary to venture too close.
The darkness holds images of lost loved ones who plead with family and friends to come and join them, and it reveals others’ worst nightmares, feeding off their fear. Those who enter the darkness never return.
Communication with the outside world has been lost, and Robbie Higgins, who lives in a Walden apartment with his girlfriend, Christy, determines to find out if anything exists beyond the town’s boundaries. His plan fails, resulting in the loss of life of several people. The town turns against him and he, Christy, and his friends are forced into hiding.
In a lawless and isolated town with desperation growing and the madness of whatever entity confines the community taking hold, murder and mayhem rule. When a religious extremist, Anna, incites fear and hatred against Dez, the strange homeless man whose runes have kept the darkness at bay, she turns the townspeople into a mob, leading Robbie and his friends to make a final desperate attempt to survive. Like The Rising, the ending invites a sequel, so the possibility of the story continuing may exist.
Darkness on the Edge of Town is the story of humanity’s struggle to survive against forces beyond its control and a town’s spiraling descent into destruction. Darkness on the Edge of Town is an absorbing and entertaining read from a modern day master of horror. This is one readers will not want to miss.