Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Those Across the River, by Christopher Buehlman

Those Across the River is a World Fantasy Award nominee this year, which is why I read it.  The pure horror genre does not usually appeal to me.  But, giving it a chance, this was a decent one.  The author has definitely read plenty of Stephen King--he has plenty of those single sentence, short, portentious paragraphs that mark King's work ("I never made it.").  Many authors use this device, so it's not a knock, but Buehlman definitely put it to work.  The setting is typical also, a sultry, sullen, Southern town dealing with devils of some sort.  I won't spoil it but it is pretty predictable.  The monsters have a long and distinguished history, not delved deeply here.  Our protagonist, a veteran of the Great War, is mostly there to suffer.  He tries to have feelings for the sad, pinched souls facing the menace but doesn't manage much.  In the end, even vengeance is too much feeling for him.  I did enjoy how it closed out, though.

This book is up against strong competition for the award, I don't think it will get it.  But it is probably a good one if you like the horror genre.  Two stars for me, three by reputation, I believe the author has promise.

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