Sunday, December 4, 2011

It Came From the Back Issue Bin! #23-- ENTER, NIGHT Reviewed

Enter, Night
by Michael Rowe

Publisher: ChiZine Publications
Released in September 2011

Review written by Jason Shayer

Welcome to Parr's Landing, Population 1,528 . . . and shrinking.

The year is 1972. Widowed Christina Parr, her daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to the remote northern Ontario mining town of Parr’s Landing, the place from which Christina fled before Morgan was born, seeking refuge. Dr. Billy Lightning has also returned in search of answers to the mystery of his father’s brutal murder. All will find some part of what they seek—and more.

Built on the site of a decimated 17th-century Jesuit mission to the Ojibwa, Parr’s Landing is a town with secrets of its own buried in the caves around Bradley Lake. A three-hundred-year-old horror slumbers there, calling out to the insane and the murderous for centuries, begging for release—an invitation that has finally been answered.

One man is following that voice, cutting a swath of violence across the country, bent on a terrible resurrection of the ancient evil, plunging the town and all its people into an endless night.

This is a vampire story. Before you sigh and move onto the next article, the reason I wanted to call this out was because it’s really a vampire story. It’s not one of the watered-down, teen-angst ridden, and sparkly vampire stories that seem to be everywhere today. "Enter, Night" is being marketed as “the anti-Twilight” by its publisher, ChiZine Publications.

"Enter, Night" is Michael Rowe’s ode to the classic vampire genre. Not only does it pay the appropriate homage and respect to vampires as monsters, but Rowe succeeds in tapping into Canada's rich native mythology.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Rowe stated: “In many ways, although "Enter, Night" is tangentially about vampires, it’s about a lot of the things I usually write about — for instance families, bullying, the corrosive effect of power on vulnerable people, and how human beings treat each other, especially in the face of a crisis.”

You can’t help but think of "Salem’s Lot" when you read this book as it does so many things as well as that classic King novel. Rowe successfully manages a larger cast of characters and really gets them into your head, so much so that your thoughts almost seem to blend with their perspective.
The only complaint I had was how the novel ended. The story was carefully plotted and crafted, with each chapter and scene moving you deeper into the horror, with the darkness closing in all around the characters you’ve come to love. The ending seemed rushed and I felt a bit cheated as the story came to its conclusion, especially with the amount of real estate given to the opening sequence which didn’t really feel like it belonged in the story.

Reading the last 40 pages, I kept flipping back and forth to the end wondering if there was actually going to be enough time to adequately wrap up this story. Here’s hoping for a follow-up novel.

"Enter, Night" is a fine reminder of all the beauty, horror, and storytelling of the classic vampire genre that has almost been washed away by the mass produced and over marketed trend of romantic vampires.

RATING: 4/5 Stars.

(NOTE: By the way, in case you’re wondering why I reviewed this book, one of the main protagonists was an avid fan of "The Tomb of Dracula" comic book, and I believe the author was a fan as well.)