Title: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Author: Brian Keene
Publisher: Leisure Books
One morning Robbie and his girlfriend Christy, two potheads heading nowhere in life, wake to discover the town they live in–Walden, VA–has been plunged into darkness. There is no sun or power. Cell phones don’t work. Radio stations are silent–not even static. There is no water, cable, internet, etc. It seems the entire world has been devoured by the living darkness–all but Walden. As society breaks down, Robbie, Christy, and their friends try to deal with the hungry darkness.
Brian Keene is a good storyteller. The narrator (Robbie) has a strong voice. The novel (once it picks up *see below*) is a quick, fun read.
The novel starts very slowly. I think Keene relied heavily on the narrator’s voice to carry readers into the story. Although the darkness is ever present, it seems to take a while to get to the “horror.” I don’t mind a slow-developing tale, as long as there is some suspense or something happening. The beginning of this lacked the suspense and action I am accustomed to with BK novels.
Could go either way:
It is written in first person (as a diary). While this point of view allows us to get close to the narrator, it keeps us from knowing other characters in any way other than how the narrator perceives them.
This wasn’t Keene’s strongest work, but it was still enjoyable. In general, I consider Brian Keene a reliable source for horror. Had this been written by someone I hadn’t read before, I may have put it down after the first few chapters. As it stands, I am glad I stuck with it.
In some respects, this reminded me of Lord of the Flies. I don’t know if it was intentional, but one can certainly find a social commentary of the nature of man in his unrefined form in this novel. As society quickly breaks down, we witness the devolution of man back into an animal-like state. It also reminded me of a couple of other works, including a Twilight Zone episode where a town or street is cut off from the rest of the world and the people become paranoid and violent.
Rating: 3 out of 4 haints