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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Dark Cry of the Moon by Charles L. Grant

I had only read one other book by Grant called The Nestling and I honestly didn’t like it that much. I found it difficult to get thru, so I never picked another of his books up again. But then I joined a Facebook group of likeminded readers of horror novels and one of them professed their enjoyment of his work. Specifically, the book that I didn’t like. I decided to give him another chance, why else do you join groups if not to be challenged and find authors you might like or have otherwise judged incorrectly?

From the cover you can tell that this is a Werewolf story. I was totally prepared for your typical run of the mill who is the wolfman, and can they be stopped plot. And that is what I got along with the normal trappings of the old Gyspy woman and silver bullets. Here we find our main character, Stockton, having been named Police Chief on the very day that bodies start to show up. Like everyone else he assumes that it is just an animal come down from the hills, but soon realizes something is up. Helped by his housekeeper, the previously mentioned Gypsy woman, he is able to turn the tables on the beast and hunt it.

This is an excellent read. I loved and was surprised by the setting. Instead of the typical small-town America setting we get a period piece that is still set in a small American town but takes place during the Civil War. I can’t think of a horror story that I’ve read before that took advantage of the chaos surrounding the Civil War. That was very cool. The book is fairly short coming in just under two hundred pages. Not a word is wasted by Grant as he weaves a tight and straightforward tale. The monster appears on the first couple of pages with some bloody kills and is in your face until the very end. Well actually there is an expected but still fun ending where you think it is over, but is it really? Got to love these twist endings.

The book has a very universal monster movie feel to it (tell me the cover of the paperback I read doesn’t scream out Lon Chaney!) and I suppose that was on purpose. Apparently, Grant wrote a series of books based around this small town, Oxrun Station, and within that series are three that were inspired by the old Universal and Hammer movies with this being one of them. I’m going to have to track down his Vampire and Mummy tales as well now.

This is a prime example of why one should never judge an author on one book. While I might not like everything he writes I know that I need to check out the Oxrun Station series. There is some really good stuff here. I can’t say anything about his other books yet, but if you do find a copy of The Dark Cry of the Moon at your local book store I recommend picking it up.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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