Monday, 25 February 2008

‘Bloodstone’ – Nate Kenyon

You may have heard of this book already and this is because it was originally a 2006 limited edition release through Five Star Publishing, the book was also a Stoker Award finalist. If you haven’t already got one of the limited edition copies then I suggest you grab yourself a copy when it is released in May, it scared the … out of me!
White Falls is a sleepy little town, in Maine, that is about to be the stage in a confrontation between good and evil… No, don’t go! It may sound familiar, and it may sound like the work of a very well known horror author, but it’s very different and more than a little bit special. Two travellers have just arrived in White Falls, one of whom didn’t have any choice in the matter. They don’t know why they are there, only that they had to come. Something evil is stirring in White Falls and no one is safe…
You are probably thinking what I was thinking before I started reading ‘Bloodstone’, namely that the blurb doesn’t promise anything different to any other horror novel you will come across. Once I got reading though, ‘Bloodstone’ painted a very different picture. Kenyon does a very good job of building up preconceptions only to knock them down when you least expect it. Certain revelations came as a real shock to the system and it is really interesting (in retrospect) to look back and compare the story Kenyon has written to the one that you thought you were reading… The ‘Maine setting’ has blatantly been done to death elsewhere and, as such, ‘Bloodstone’ shoots itself in the foot (a little) by having the story take place in somewhere so familiar. Kenyon more than makes up for this with evocative descriptions of the town (and surrounding area) that really drew me into the story. He also has a great gift of dragging the tension to breaking point and then hitting the reader straight between the eyes with something horrifying. The climax of Angel’s visit to Annie really made me jump! Some strong characterisation, with ongoing themes of redemption and revenge, serve to give the plot a solid base to sit on as well as making the horror scenes all the more surreal and horrifying.
Perhaps the only other criticisms I would level is that, as the book is fairly short in length, it seems like Kenyon tries to fit too much in and perhaps not every question is answered satisfactorily. Also, one of the characters has something pretty horrible happen to her (right at the end) but it feels as if this was written in purely to deal with a particularly awkward plot development. It just felt that the problem was dealt far too easily…
These are relatively minor quibbles, however, if you’re like me and after a story that serves up supernatural chills and horror in equal measure. If you’re a horror fan then ‘Bloodstone’ is a book you should be checking out sooner rather than later!

Nine out of Ten

1 comment:

Robert said...

You know, I don't think I've read any horror books this year. I guess "Sharp Teeth" could fall in that category, but I wouldn't call it horror. So that's been a big void for me and Nate Kenyon sounds like an author I might enjoy... So thanks for the review!