If you've read a few of my horror reviews covering this author, you should know that I rever him highly in the world of the written macabre. A powerful force to reckon with behind the pen, his imagination seemingly has no endless depth as he plunges the reader into bizarre, desperate worlds. Having the knack to paint truly horrendous scenarios that are almost too much, Masterton does nothing less here, particularly with the villains, the Hoodsmen, eerily crazed, creepy beings that are as merciless as you can get. Icky. Somehow he makes too strange situations seem plausible and - almost effortlessly, it sometimes seems - thrusts convincing characters into the mix.
The book almost rates suspense rather than horror, but that genre label is quickly tossed once you read a few of the more potent scenes. Some situations are grippingly edgy, keeping the suspense level high and fierce, especially (again) with the Hoodsmen. *shivers* This one isn't as supernatural as some of his other stuff screams to be, touched more with fantastical other world imaginings, and while I didn't dig it as much as I have some of his other stuff, it's still a more than worthy book to read for the horror fan.
Character wise, I really felt for poor Julia in the beginning, for it's hard to imagine something so horrifying happening to you. I really grew close to the hero, Josh, who was sweet and had a unique way with animals, although Masterton did not touch enough upon his grief over his sister realistically enough for my tastes at times. It almost felt like the poor girl really didn't have enough love to return to with his parents and other life outside in the common world. The idea of alternating realistic was intriguing but after awhile I almost lost patience. Still I barreled through and was a happy camper in the end.
One scene in particular will be hard for some of the queasy to bear, especially if you've experienced dental problems like I have. Not his best work, but holds the imagination you would expect from this great author. It always seems that lesser works by this man rival the better books from others. Fans of the fantasy/horror combo should be exceedingly pleased.
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