Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I've heard horror people say good things about Brian Keene, like he's one of the best of the new crop of writers, he's Stephen King with a brain, etc. I like to keep in touch with the horror genre. Plus I wanted to test drive the Kindle, & this was one of the 182 books Emma sorted me out with. So I ended up reading this turkey.

There is a town, and on the edge, itg is dark

Darkness on the Edge of Town. OK. You don't need to be a music scholar to identify the Doors quote the title is borrowed from. & this is literally a story about a town which wakes up surrounded by darkness,
& everyone who goes into it disappears
& the darkness is evil
& it infects people's thoughts
& turns them evil
& holy fucking shit can I even be bothered reviewing this book?

Let's pause for a moment to consider this last question.

It is Wednesday afternoon. A grey day, but mild. Looks like we've beaten the worst of the Scottish winter. I'm drinking Scarecrow Ale from a pint glass shaped like a human skull. My room is messy & probably could do with a clean.

Elsewhere in the world all sorts of things are happening – world leaders are in meetings deciding the fate of the economy, the fate of developing nations, the fate of the human race. Mothers are collecting their children from sports practice, or watching their children at piano recitals. Police are interviewing suspects in a burglary case, or preparing to smash in the door of a meth lab somewhere. Rob Zombie is on world tour.

This photo is substantially more frightening than anything which happens in Darkness on the Edge of Town, and not just because they're hugging Berlusconi.

Someone give the Super Beast a fucking medal.

Whereas I'm sitting here, having read Darkness on the Edge of Town, and wondering if I need to review it.

The issue here is that this book is so... it's not even poorly written, it's barely written, you can tell the author could have done better, but just couldn't quite rouse himself to the task.

The amount of references to pot there are in this book is telling. When I'm writing a big project I tend to chain smoke, & because of this I have smoking on my mind so everyone in the story I'm writing turns out to be a smoker, or an ex-smoker, or a lapsed ex-smoker, or just a random someone who wants to talk about cigarettes. I think Brian Keene was stoned when wrote this. The whole time. I think that would explain the cataclysmic lack of effort on display here.

Sorry. I don't want to diss marijuana, I know a lot of people enjoy the stuff & find it a comforting & enjoyable way to unwind at the end of the day. I'm just baffled by this book, & wondering how it could have come to pass. I'm grasping at straws.

Can I be bothered reviewing this book?

Pfft. I dunno. Probably not. I have already expended more effort in considering it than Brian Keene has done over the course of writing this Stephen King rip-off which, given the fact our culture already has King's The Mist, James Herbert's (bad, but better than this) The Dark, & Peter Straub's so-so Floating Dragon, didn't actually need to be written. It's a misbegotten book. Someone capable (but cheesy) like King would have used this as an excuse to look at small town human nature through a range of character stereotypes. Keene either doesn't understand human nature or can't be bothered climbing this hill, so instead you get these 3-4... God I don't know if you could even call them “people”, they're worse than stock movie characters... & it doesn't really have a plot. The “darkness on the edge of town” situation has already started by the time the book opens, it's still going by the time the book ends, & nothing of any importance happens in between. The protagonist has a dumb plan he acknowledges comes from The Mist – this comes across as embarrassingly lazy rather than post-modern – it doesn't work, nothing happens, people get killed, the prot can't even be bothered feeling guilty about it afterwards... & oh God damn it the epigraphs, that same old Lovecraft quote, but with no relevance to the...

...can I be...

No I cannot be bothered reviewing this book.


FILE UNDER... “could try harder”. Some of the online reviews come down heavy on this one too, in fact I found a couple of people wondering whether this was actually Brian Keene's writing, since it seems so much poorer than his other stuff. (!!!) Maybe he knocked it off in a week to pay a debt.

WOULD GO WELL WITH... Something better.


  1. Are you going to write about 'The Silent Land.'? I'm hoping you'll write about the Silent Land. If you are, I won't email you with what I thought until you've weighed in with your say.

  2. The code verification for that comment was 'sedgringeb' which pleases me.

  3. For that one it was 'dedar' which pleases me not.

  4. Apologies if you were initially excited by the prospect of having received multiple comments and discovered the mundane reality. I know you share my curiousity about verification codes.

  5. Haha, cheers Katie. It makes my blog look popular to the casual observer. I may get around to "The Silent Land" at some stage - maybe soon? - but I'm sort of clocking up a backlog of stuff from this year too.

    Also got the following comment emailed through from Billy the Ungulate:

    "I would like to see a photo of the pint glass shaped like a human skull.
    I would quite possibly like a pint glass shaped like a human skull.
    Or quite possibly not.
    It would have to be right."

    Will do Billy.