Mick's Reviews > Darkness on the Edge of Town

Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene
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Mar 11, 10

Read in March, 2010

Yes, we're a visual society, and that visceral craving for lewd, crude visuals has spilled over into horror writing. So the genre writers have responded in kind by giving their readers bloodlettings that start on the first page and compound in succeeding pages with ever-more doses of gratuitous violence and graphic gore and prurient dysfunction. In other words, we in the audience are given hundreds of pages of gross-out festivals. In another word, here is what makes Brian Keene's DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN such a satisfying horror read: Moderation.

Instead of a bloodletting, Keene gives his readers a story--a story about a small town in Virginia waking up to an inexplicable veil of darkness cutting the community off from the rest of the world. Nothing works: there's no power, no cell phones, no Internet, no TV, no radio; those who dare to venture into the absolute darkness on the edge of town are never seen again--those who merely go to where it begins see all sorts of gruesome manifestations, or they see long lost loved ones trying to lure them inside. The darkness is maniacal, evil, and it's influencing the behaviour of the citizens in the town--compelling them to do unspeakable things to one another. Told from the point of view of Robbie, a free-spirited pizza delivery driver, the reader sees through his eyes the implosion of the human condition.

So instead of relentless gore Keene tells an edge-of-your-seat story about a town besieged by evil incarnate. Sure, there is gore, but in amounts to enhance--not overwhelm--the story. The ending is sufficiently and satisfyingly open-ended. DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN is a grand horror read. Enthusiastically recommended.
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