Darkness Rising is the latest novella from author Brian Moreland, who has written a diverse slate of supernatural horror stories over the course of the past few years. I believe I have read most of his works and my reason for coming back is because his tales are vivid with a healthy dose of gore and grimness that splash across the pages in bright, primary colors.
Darkness Rising starts out as a somewhat traditional revenge tale, or so it seems to lead in that direction initially. Naturally, it takes its fair share of dark turns that lead the reader far astray from its original intent. It is clear that our main character, Marty Weaver, who is a janitor at a local college, is a sensitive soul who has been trodden upon one too many times and is ready to take out his anger on three sadists who catch him reading poetry next to a lonely, quiet part of a local lake while he pines for the woman he loves.
Of course, the author has something else up his sleeve and the story takes several wicked twists and turns. The sadists in the story are real pieces of work, reminding me briefly of the villains in the movie “You’re Next” thanks to their use of animal masks and their lust for pain and anguish that they heap on their victims.
Marty is a likeable character, someone who is easy to root for. While the author pulls no punches when it comes to what he must face (as well as memories of a tragic past that won’t let go), he is provided with the opportunity to release the darkness that resides inside him, as the description of this story alludes to. This leads us to an even darker tale, one where revenge is still wafting through the air, but in ways that even Marty cannot fathom.
All in all, this is an entertaining, quick read, though I had a desire to see certain elements expanded upon-including the ‘dark artist’ aspect of the horror that is revealed to Marty. His backstory is an interesting one, and Moreland has a deft touch when it comes to crafting creatures built out of nightmares. The love story aspect of the tale is perhaps a bit fluffy, for lack of a better term, though not too cloying or maudlin given what horrors the reader and Marty have to come to grips with throughout the rest of this tale. This is a fun, horrific story of revenge and regret by an up and coming author.
Darkness Rising can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Rising-Brian-Moreland-ebook/dp/B00Y05TVUG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Rhodri is a young man living with his girlfriend, and they have dreams of getting married and moving into their “forever house,” an expensive home next to a lake that has come on the market. They can afford the down payment with the amount of money they’ve saved as well as the monthly payments, by Rhodri’s calculations. The house represents everything that the couple could ever hope for. Alas, Rhodri’s girlfriend has been suckered into ‘loaning’ the money to her no-good brother, who is an intimidating gangster. Rhodri is advised by her as well as his closest friend not to make waves and give up on the dream of owning the house, rather than messing with the thuggish brother that is likely to squash him into oblivion if he stands up to him. But at some point in life, you have to make a stand, and do what’s right, despite the odds being stacked against you.
Of course, as you can probably surmise, things don’t go well for Rhodri, and the bulk of this tale deals with things…after they take a horrible turn for the worse.
This short story is a mix of a creepy zombie scares and a classic revenge story. The pacing is solid and I really was able to empathize with Rhodri, rooting for him even as he turns into more of a monster than the enemy he is facing (at least more of a monster on the outside). The story was fun and reminded me of an old episode of Tales From the Crypt, with just the right amount of twists and turns and splashed with plenty of gory fun to boot. The ending caused an devious grin to spread across my face. It, like the rest of story, was eminently satisfying.
What Happened to Rhodri can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/What-Happened-to-Rhodri-ebook/dp/B004UB3GY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328747973&sr=8-1