Saturday 8 June 2019

Book Review: Enter, Night by Michael Rowe (Horror/Vampires)

Title: Enter, Night
Author: Michael Rowe
ChiZine Publications

Publication Date: 2011
Secondhand Copy from a Friend


Welcome to Parr's Landing, Population 1,528... and shrinking.

The year is 1972. Widowed Christina Parr, her daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to the remote northern Ontario mining town of Parr's Landing, the place from which Christina fled before Morgan was born, seeking refuge. Dr. Billy Lightning has also returned in search of answers to the mystery of his father's brutal murder. All will find some version of what they seek - and more. Built on the site of a decimated 17th-century Jesuit mission to the Ojibwa, Parr's Landing is a town with secrets of its own buried in the caves around Bradley Lake. A three-hundred-year-old vampire is slumbering there, calling out to the insane and the murderous for centuries, begging for release - an invitation that has finally been answered. One man is following that voice, cutting a murderous swath across the country, bent on a terrible resurrection of the ancient horror... plunging the town and all its people into an endless night.

Enter, Night is a difficult book to review because there were things I loved and things I loathed. Let's start with the positives: the young lad, Finn, is a great character and well portrayed throughout; the work was atmospheric, often with detailed, bloody descriptions; and the premise had promise, hinting at nods to Stephen King. What worked less well for me was the number of plot points introduced then never concluded, some discrepancy over the level to which newly turned vampires could control their urges (which mostly seemed to depend on whether or not you were a 'nice' person in life), and the lack of impact of the central vampire figure. Freeing him is a focal point of the story, yet he ends up this shadowy figure barely even glimpsed. The addition of a novella section at the end detailing how he'd come to be trapped in the caves did help, but I still wanted to get a sense of his POV. What was he feeling and thinking? Maybe that is partly due to my preference for vampire stories in which the vampires are sexy and brooding, as opposed to this more horror-style take on them, but I do think greater understanding of the principal vampire's motivations would have been useful. Overall, I am giving this 3.5 stars. It's not a bad story--it was entertaining and kept me reading--but I always felt like there was some spark missing. Worth checking out if you are a vampire-story enthusiast, but it won't be making my Top Ten Vampire Novels list.

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