As a rabid fan of horror fiction, one of my favorite experiences is being introduced to an author whose work I’ve never experienced and finding in the words something that moves and terrifies me simultaneously. Such was the case when I was recently introduced to the work of Brian Moreland, an author well versed in folklore, myth, and history who infuses that knowledge into his writing and elevates it to a level above that which we normally see in horror fiction outside some of the masters like Rice, King, and Barker. His newest novella, Darkness Rising, does not disappoint in the least.
Coming in at just under 100 pages, Darkness Rising is a taut and mesmerizing tale of revenge. Revenge is nothing new in horror fiction. One needs only pick up a copy of Stephen King’s Carrie or Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” to experience the archetype. Therefore, it takes something special to catch the reader and fully invest them in the character seeking revenge on those who wronged him. Fortunately for us, Moreland handles this beautifully with Hitchcockian precision.
Poor Marty has not had an easy life. He has been bullied and beaten every step of the way, and he handles it the only way he knows how. He writes and writes until the darkness he feels inside himself seeps onto the page and out of his system, if only for a little while. When things are really bad, he goes to a secluded spot at his favorite lake and reads his writings, further releasing his rage into the watery depths. One night, Marty crosses the wrong group of people, a band of psychopathic killers, and though he tries his best to escape, he is murdered and his body is thrown into the very water he’s been pouring his soul into for years. That’s when things get interesting.
What? You thought I was going to break my rule and give spoilers? Not happening, and especially not with a piece of fiction assembled as expertly as Moreland has done. I will only say this. There is a point in the novella where you realize that what you thought was the most important part of the story is merely a brush stroke to the larger picture…and that moment is terrifying and beautiful! Perhaps the thing that sets it the farthest apart from its peers is that through all of the revenge, the murder, and the gore, Moreland somehow manages to end on a note of utter hope and fulfillment. Don’t believe me? Read it and prove me wrong.
Available now for only $3.44 on Amazon, there is no reason not to download a copy of Darkness Rising today! Follow this link to get your copy and immerse yourself in his dark world.