Often enough when a horror novel is described as a page-turner it usually ends up in my dud pile. Color me picky but as much a chance I give it (and believe me I do) it always seems to fail grabbing me. Give me a cool writer like Hunter Shea or Brian Keene, or heck even Bryan Smith whose latter work, last time I checked, is way stronger, and I’ll give you at least a dozen brand names who doesn’t necessarily fit my bill. This next spotlighted fellow, however, does. I’ve been meaning to discuss him (and the others mentioned above) on this popular blog which I’m so proud of, but it took one of his latest to finally make me take the plunge and do this.
I admit, the name Tim Curran might still be unfamiliar to some, but to lovers of dark fiction he is one celebrated talent. He’s been at it since 2000 and already has a dozen novels to his name if not more. My first taste of his well-defined craft came with RESURRECTION, which was all about the zombie invasion. It was a lengthy read (600 + pages) but it was as involving as it can possibly be and moved like a speeding bullet. Plus it had many gruesome moments which are always a welcoming addition.
Like many of my fave authors, Curran is less known for his epic characterization and overstuffed narration. He’s what you call the perfect antidote to too much cerebral fiction (which he himself has been known to point out regarding other people’s work). Take BLACKOUT for example, one of his latest projects with DarkFuse. Again, readers of non-stop action will have a field day, especially if they are into alien invasions in small towns. What happens to these ordinary folks in the space of a mere six hours can only be described as cheesily fun. Plus, there are plenty a yucky images to spare, most having to do with what’s coming through the darkened sky. I won’t reveal too much but let’s just say that what the author does with this will probably leave no one unfazed. Moreover, the explanation he provides for the UFO attack winds up being rather interesting if not original. Well at least it is to me, since I’m no expert in the field of science.
What I’m good at, though, is talking about labels regarding minorities. I’m always touchy when it comes to derogatory comments made toward them, especially in novels. While I’m also well aware that some used in texts may not always reflect the authors’ beliefs but more the characters behaviors, I always wonder why these writers would not opt for safer words—like in one scene in this particular novel between two aggravated neighbours. To make a long story short it all comes down to this: hey Curran and his publishers, not all readers are straight; so if I were you, I would lose the bigotry vibe if you want to reach an even wider audience. That being said, BLACKOUT is still worth checking out, if you can overlook that type of unnecessary gibes.
Until next post—Martin