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Edward Lee has had more than 40 books published in the horror and suspense field, including CITY INFERNAL, THE GOLEM, and BLACK TRAIN. His movie, HEADER was released on DVD by Synapse Films, in June, 2009. Recent releases include the stories, “You Are My Everything” and “The Cyesologniac,” the Lovecraftian novella “Trolley No. 1852,” and the hardcore novel HAUNTER OF THE THRESHOLD. Currently, Lee is working on HEADER 3. Lee lives on Florida’s St. Pete Beach.
on July 14, 2012 :
Edward Lee, quoted as "The sickest writer in horror..." tries his hand at a Lovecraftian story. This isn't the first story of Lee's I've read, and yet having finished this I am starting to wonder where this title of 'sickest writer' comes from as this story is relatively tame when it comes to the aspect of what one would expect from a writer with such a title.
The story itself is well written, and flows fairly well. The details and descriptions are very Lovecraft in how they are presented to the author. The basic plot is interesting and with only a few pacing issues, flows relatively well from beginning to end. The main character is interesting, as is his obsession with Lovecraft's work and person. Mary is enchanting and will cause anyone with a 'white knight syndrome' to instantly feel sorry for her and want to see her helped. Other characters too are well planned out and act as you would expect them to.
The setting is well done as well, capturing the feel of a bustling port town well. The explaination as to why things don't resemble the old days is nicely done and helps to move the plot along as well. Just enough description is giving to keep the story moving without bogging it down in over done details about the buildings, the woods, shoreline and more. (something Lovecraft himself is guilty of)
But there were a couple issues I found with this story. One is the pacing issues, where often the pacing jerks and places where the pacing should be quick it suddenly feels as if you're riding on a stalling car. One moment it's going fast, the next you've stopped, but now you're going, wait, it's stopped again. This tended to stop a lot of the tension from building to what it could have been, increasing the horror aspect of the book.
Another problem is Lee's attempt to seemingly include multiple Lovecraftian elements into the story, for example, the Re-animator. Though such Easter eggs are interesting when well done, the sections he's placed them seem to be unneeded in the story itself. The reanimated corpses could easily have been taken out of the story and it would have worked out just as good, perhaps better, as they didn't play that much of a roll in the overall plot.
The ending itself also seemed to be rather jumbled, as if Lee had a number of ideas of how to end the story and was trying to get all of them down onto the page. The main character is thrust back and forth from location to location to accomplish what he needs to do, often going back to locations he's already been again and again. This is one of the pacing issues mentioned above, as instead of having a clean, clear line of rising action and climax, it jumbles what should have been a rush of action.
Lastly, the very end of the story was completely pointless. The very last paragraph seems to have been added on simply for shock value or 'ha-ha, you didn't get away so easily!'. It felt tacked on, pointless, and could easily have been left off with no effect.
Yet despite this, I am giving this story four stars as, don't get me wrong, this was a good story. I read it in two sittings, couldn't put it down, and overall enjoyed the tale. I am glad that this wasn't along the lines that, from what I can gather, what Lee writes usually. An over abundance of gore and splatter-punk in this tale would have detracted away from the story.
In the end, I recommend this story to anyone who is a Lovecraft fan. If you are a horror fan looking for a story, read 'Shadow over Innsmoth' first and then read this story. You'll have a better understanding of elements in this story and it will make a lot more sense. Pick it up, it's a good read and well worth the price I paid on Smashwords.
(reviewed 77 days after purchase)