Horrifying Hallowe’en Reads – Day Six
One of the things that I love about the ebook revolution is the return of the novella. While definitions vary, most would classify a novella as being somewhere between 10,000 and 40,000 words, or 45 to 180 pages in length. I think novellas are the perfect length for a solid tale when you don’t have the time to take on an entire novel. Short enough to be read in one sitting if you desire but not so short that it is over too soon.
Today’s selections show us just how entertaining a pair of horror novellas can be…
Geoff Cooper and Brian Keene
When 11-year-old Danny skips school to go hunting for crabs near the Haverstraw Marina, he finds a dead body instead-and stumbles across one of the darkest and deadliest secrets in Brackard’s Point. A secret that threatens the lives of Danny, his friends, and the mysterious old Russian known as Gustav…
Geoff Cooper created the town of Brackard’s Point as the setting for much of his fiction and it’s a place like no other. As Thunderstorm Books notes in the description for ANSWERS OF SILENCE, which collects much of the short fiction set there, “This is a town brimming with unrequited love and unfathomable hate. A town where dreams lay shattered in back alleys. A town where trees whisper in the moonlight. A town where serial killers attend cub scout meetings.” The mythology of the story, Russian magic and supernatural evil, comes from co-writer Brian Keene’s body of work, specifically his tales involving the Labyrinth. Together the two deliver a fast-paced coming-of-age story that’s a nice introduction to both of the writers.
Like SUMMER OF NIGHT from our first pair of selections, SHADES brings you back to those days of youth when summer loomed ahead of you and all you wanted to do was discover the magic deep in its heart. In Brackard’s Point, that magic is real…
Newcomer Rob Hart brings us our next selection, a creepy little novella full of zombie action that’s just right for the season.
THE LAST SAFE PLACE
It’s been two years since the outbreak of a plague that turned New Yorkers into flesh-eating corpses. The city’s population has dwindled to three hundred refugees on Governors Island, a park and former military outpost situated in Upper New York Bay, a few hundreds yards from Manhattan and Brooklyn. The survivors struggle with supply shortages and flaring tempers, but the monsters they call ‘rotters’ can’t swim. The island isn’t comfortable, but it’s safe.
That sense of safety is shattered when Sarge, a former cop and the island’s head of security, comes face to decomposing face with a rotter while on an early-morning patrol. There’s no conceivable way for the creature to have gotten on the island. What’s worse is that its stone-like skin makes it much tougher to kill.
Faced with the prospect of an evolving enemy, and desperate to find antibiotics for his dying wife, Sarge has to get into Manhattan, do some recon, forage for supplies, and get out—without drawing the attention of the millions of rotters that now roam the city.
The strength in Hart’s writing is his characterization. His hero is flawed, capable of making the most horrendous decisions, and thus utterly believable as he attempts to survive another day in a world gone mad. The setting – Governor’s Island – is near perfect; close to a major metropolis but completely inaccessible to the rotters roaming the deserted city nearby. Or so our hero thinks…
I’ll be looking for more from Rob Hart in the future.
Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.
You can find him online at Shades of Reality.