Saturday, November 01, 2008

Three good books for Halloween

Now that it's over. Better late than never. The three are "Night Church", "Wolfen", and "The Forbidden Zone", all by Whitley Strieber. All of them are out of print but easily available on the used book market since they were all issued in mass market paperback.

Night Church is about a Satanic cult that rents a Catholic Church that's virtually deserted in a desolate area in order to do their rites, and they have a plan that they're coming about trying to enact. There are murders that start the police on it and lots of fear and horror.

Wolfen is of course the book that the movie Wolfen was based off of. It's about semi-werewolf, super intelligent wolves inhabiting New York City and being discovered because of a brutal murder of people who the cops care about. Now, the story of the movie has nothing to do with the story that's being told within the book. However, it's one of those rare instances where the movie captures the sense of the novel, the sense of paranoia and foreboding, perfectly even though it deviates from the story itself. Watch the movie and read the book.

The Forbidden Zone is a crazy attempt to make a book long H.P. Lovecraft type story. And it's successful. The action centers on beings from a parallel dimension trying to infiltrate the world through portals opened by rites done by a very old and insular Dutch community in upstate New York. It's a success. I can vouch for that.

All of the books pass the 'willy factor' test; they all give you the willies, make the hairs on your spine stand up, make you afraid, and somewhat paranoid. That's what good horror should do.

Of all of them the one I like best is "Night Church". Although it's not as over the top and balls to the wall as "Forbidden Zone", so to speak, it's the most consistent and tightly written of the three.

Strieber is known for the Communion series of books, books about experiences that he had that have inadvertently lead to the complete trashing of his fictional works, which should not have happened. After literally two decades, or maybe fifteen years, since the hostility to him arose in response to Communion he's finally getting back on his feet and getting back into the publishing world. In the intervening time he lost most of his income from books, lost his cabin and ability to live in New York City, moving back to the West where he grew up.

These books should be reprinted.

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