The first book I want to talk about is by one of my favorite authors, Tamara Thorne. I was first introduced to Tamara through an interview on horrorworld.org. In the interview, Tamara mentioned that for easter she was planning on painting some mice to look like Easter eggs, so her cats could enjoy the holiday also. I liked her sense of humor and ran out and bought her book Moonfall. Moonfall was written in 1996 and is centered around Sara Hawthorne and John Lawson.
Sara Hawthorne has been away from the small town of Moonfall for a long time. She was a student at Saint Gertrude’s school for girls but left town after the suicide of her best friend. She has now returned to teach at St. Gertrude’s or St Gruesome’s as the townspeople call it; but not all is well in Moonfall. There have been quite a few unusual deaths and suicides lately and some of the bodies are being found on the grounds of the school.
Certainly the priests and nuns at the school couldn’t be involved in the murders, or could they? The local sheriff: John Hawthorne is investigating the murders and he has experienced some tragedy at St. Gertrude’s himself. On Halloween night as a child, 24 years ago John and his friends made an after hours trip to the school to spy on the girls. No one knows for sure what happened that night, but one of the boys was found dead at the bottom of witch falls and the rest were scarred for life. This school may not be what everyone thinks it is, and those gargoyles around the school might not be stone after all.
Its been a long time since I’ve read Moonfall but I remember thinking it was a little like Dario Argento’s Susperia with a few laughs and some good sex scenes thrown in just to mix it up a bit. The book also has a couple of good love stories going on and I remember liking how the witch’s masses were depicted in the book. The story deals a lot with the occult and it was interesting to see how the school mixed pagan and christian beliefs without either one overpowering the other.
The next book is by another one of my favorite authors, Richard Laymon. This one is called In The Dark and was released in 1994. Jane Kerry, the city of Donnerville’s librarian lives an average uninteresting life but that all changes when she finds an envelope containing $50 dollars and instructions saying “look homeward, angel,” signed MOG, Master of Games. Soon MOG starts to give Jane tasks to complete and keeps giving her more and more money. The tasks keep getting more crazy and more dangerous and now Jane is forever changed and obsessed with the game. Will she survive or will she fall victim to Mog’s games?
Once again I read this book years ago, but I remember enjoying watching the character of Jane change through out the book from a normal person to a tough as nails woman who will do whatever it takes to complete Mog’s tasks and get more money. I also loved how the excitement in the books builds, you never know if Mog’s games will be dangerous or just simple and easy to give Jane a false sense of security. For instance one night Jane just has to spend an evening eating dinner with a stranger while the next night she has to find a treasure in a house where a serial killer is torturing his victims.
My favorite scene in the book managed to make me shudder and laugh at the same time. I don’t want to give it all away but at one point Jane is being chased by a female cannibal with only one leg, holding a knife and a fork and screaming “I’ve got the hungeries.” Richard Laymon’s books are usually very hard core and definitely not for everyone.
One thing that every Richard Laymon book that I’ve read has, is a rape scene. I’ve also seen where some people have said that Laymon hates woman because there is so much violence against women in his books. I have to disagree with the people saying that Laymon is a sexist, because if you pay attention to his stories you will see that the female characters in his books are smarter, stronger, more compassionate, more resourceful and all around better characters then the men. Also the men who commit the violence against women always end up suffering much more then the women do. I also have not read a Laymon book where the main hero wasn’t a woman.
Last but not least I want to mention Midnight Blue: The Sonja Blue Collection by Nancy Collins which was released in 1995. This book is a compilation of three novels(Sunglasses After Dark, In The Blood and Paint It Black) that follow the adventures of the living vampire Sonja Blue. Sonja was only 18 years old when she was raped and fed on by a vampire. She was left on the street to die but miraculously she survived, sort of. She becomes a vampire but she never died, making her a living vampire. Now her goal is to find the vampire that changed her, kill him and get her life back.
In Sonja’s world she not only has to deal with other vampires but she also has to battle ogres, demons and religious zealots. The thing that sets Sonja apart from every other vampire character that I’ve read about, is that she is not conflicted about who she is. She is an anti-hero, she is out to kill vampires she also hurts innocent humans in the process but doesn’t feel guilty about it.
In this book Sonja has opportunities to be happy and falls in love but because she is obsessed with revenge she doesn’t get what she truly wants. The only thing I didn’t like about Sonja Blue was how it ended, but if you want to read a fun, blood soaked vampire book then check out Midnight Blue.