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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Hour of the Oxrun Dead by Charles L. Grant

I’m back with another review of a Charles L. Grant book. After reading the really fun Dark Cry of the Moon I decided to check out his other Oxrun Station books. It just so happened that I walked into my local used book store and found the first three of the series. To refresh your memory these books take place in the same small town, but tell what I think are unrelated horror stories. At least I think so. I suppose I’ll have to read them all to find out.

Our main character here is named Natalie and when things kick off she is having a nightmare. It is a reoccurring one about the murder of her husband who died under mysterious circumstances. He was a cop and she heard the attack over the radio while she was home listening to the police scanner. We are then introduced to a cast of odd characters that live in Oxrun Station including the local minister, banker, jeweler, and police chief, who also just happens to be her former brother in law! It becomes clear that something is clearly up in the town when eighteen months after her husband’s death there is another murder eerily similar. But what is going on?

With the help of a local reporter, Marc, who is also her love interest Natalie starts to unravel things and expose the seedy inner workings of the town. Simple things like missing books from the library and strange attacks on her by a mysterious big cat start to add up. The more she uncovers the more dangerous it gets. It all takes a supernatural turn when Marc shows her something has been trying to hide the town from him. Literally it is like people just don’t want to see the small town of Oxrun while they are driving along!

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did Dark Cry of the Moon. But that book had a werewolf in it and I do love me some Lycanthrope action. Still The Hour of the Oxrun Dead was a decent read. Grant does a nice job of setting up the mystery and building a sense of paranoia. It becomes clear early on that there is some sort of conspiracy happening which leads to the whole “who can they trust” vibe. There was even a part where for the briefest of moments Grant had me doubting one of the main characters. That was cleverly done and a good bit of writing on his part.

I guess I only have one complaint about Hour of the Oxrun Dead and that is it wraps up too quickly. We get this great build up with the conspiracy and the mysterious creature chasing Natalie all around town trying to kill her. Only to suddenly have things end rather abruptly without the kind of payoff that the rest of the story deserved. Heck the “monster” doesn’t even get to play a part in the big finale. I found that very disappointing.

In the end the good here far outweighs the bad. I was excited to read more of Grant’s books before I cracked this one and I’m still interested in them. If you see this or any of his other efforts, I’d recommend picking them up. Except for the Nestling. I really didn’t like that one.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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