Friday, 27 June 2008

'Keepers' - Gary Braunbeck

I was after something short and sweet to read before I went off for the weekend, Gary Braunbeck's 'Keepers' was short and, for a piece of horror fiction, surprisingly sweet as well...

Gil Stewart is an ordinary man until one day his normal life is shattered after witnessing a bizarre death on the highway. All of a sudden animals are behaving weirdly around him and strange bowler hatted men keep appearing when he least expects it. If all this wasn't weird enough, his Downs-Syndrome nephew goes missing with a comic book that can tell the future...
All this is connected to an event in Gil's past that he has fought desperately to forget but now he must remember if he is to stand any chance of getting through the night with his sanity intact. The Keepers are coming...

This is going to be a fairly quick one, need to leave the house in half an hour, but I could sit here all day and go on about how much I enjoyed this book. We're back in Cedar Hill, the home of strange goings on that mask concepts that I don't normally come across in horror fiction. Without spoiling it for those who haven't read the book, Braunbeck comes up with a really original theme this time round that got me more interested the more I was told.

There's a real 'Twlight Zone' feel about 'Keepers' with everyday objects taking on sinister meanings and becoming even more horrifying when placed against things that are ordinary as ever. There's a hint of poignancy to the proceedings as well and this somehow makes the story even more horrifying; not just in terms of what is going on but also in terms of childhood past, the pain of a first love and the pain of people and animals who are mistreated and forgotten.

It's not all good though; throughout the story Gil fights to keep his memories for surfacing until the very end where he figures out what is going on. It felt to me that, while we got his life story, we didn't get the revelation (only that he knew what he had to do next) and this made for a confusing final few pages. The ending made up for though (and got me a little teary eyed).

It's not perfect by any means but 'Keepers' is a fine example of Gary Braunbeck doing what he does best. If you're a horror fan then I highly recommend you start reading his stuff.

Eight out of Ten

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