Monday 23 March 2015

REVIEW: William Meikle - The Dunfield Terror

Genre: Horror    
Publisher: DarkFuse
Publication Date: 7th April 2015
Pages: 162


I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is published by Darkfuse.

Well now. I finally got round to Willie Meikle. The man is spoken about in almost god-like terms. Is it warranted? Will a Meikle newbie agree with all he has heard? Will he want to go back for more? I think he just might.

1955. Muir and his colleague Duncan Campbell are conducting an experiment. They don’t really know what they are doing or what they are messing with. Muir will succeed. He will succeed in opening a door to another dimension. Has it been open before? Will he be able to close it?

Present day. Frank is tasked with manning the plow in Dunfield. He must keep the roads open and look after the town folk as best he can. The fog has come back. It can only mean bad things for the town. The terror unleashed in 1955 is coming back to Dunfield. Although he doesn’t know it yet, Frank is the only hope.

After reading this book I am left with one question and one question only. Where have you been all my life Willie Meikle? This is just about the superb-est thing I have read in years and years.

Lovecraftian. I don’t know much about this I have to admit. I haven’t read much Lovecraft. I get the idea though. I am beginning to fall in love with the Victorian style of horror writing and particularly the narrative style. In this story we have flashbacks to 1955 where mad scientist Muir and his dogsbody Campbell are trying to right a wrong. A wrong so bad that it has catastrophic potential. I’m not going to tell you what it is because that would just take away from the joy you will get reading the delightful descriptive narrative that Mr Meikle uses to paint a wonderful picture of sights, and sounds, and smells, of a time gone by, when technological advances meant conducting experiments in sheds, and if you didn’t get hurt then it wasn’t effective.

The atmosphere in the 1955 scenes in this story is quite literally electrifying. It sucks you in until you can almost feel every tingle and see every colour. Simply wonderful.

In the present day we have an overhang of the problems caused in 1955. Frank has a constant battle on his hands against a snow storm like no other and the more frightening task of trying to protect the people of the town. His biggest battle is the fact he has no idea of what he is dealing with. No one has. They know it has terrorised the town for decades but no one actually knows what it is. It’s dark. There’s a blizzard. There is something out there and no one knows where it is going to come from next. Sound scary? It bloody is. The atmosphere in these sections of the book is equally as electric as the 1955 scenes but in a completely different way. You have horror, terror, the unknown, the weather, the ……… nah not gonna spoil it!

Two things I have learnt to appreciate over this past year. Someone who can effectively use the olde narrative like Lovecraft and William Hope Hodgson did and good old fashioned, scare the pants off you horror. The Dunfield terror has both of these in abundance. I think I will be joining the queues to bow down at the feet of “Oor Wullie”. This man knows what he’s doing.

To summarise: Scenes of a Lovecraftian nature that will have you mesmerized in the wonderful atmosphere of the 1950’s as a mad scientist tries to right his wrongs. Sheer terror and horror as a modern day unlikely hero battles against absolutely everything that is thrown at him to protect anyone he can. This is superbly paced with wonderfully open, and likeable characters that help this story flow across the pages at a wonderful tempo. Sometimes edge of your seat stuff and other times set slow so you can become totally engrossed in the story that’s being told. This is a masterpiece. I make no apologies for falling behind in my reviews or other duties this next few months…….I’m gonna be reading a shed load of Meikle!

Easy peasy 5 stars.

General rating:

★★★★★ Absolutely loved it and it comes highly recommended.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ I need a change of pants.

You can buy The Dunfield Terror here:

Book Synopsis:

It starts with a strange glowing fog that arrives at the height of a snowstorm.

A terror from the past has returned, bringing with it death and destruction that threatens to overrun the town. The old stories tell of a post-war experiment gone wrong, one that opened the way for the fog—or whatever was behind it—to begin its reign of terror.

A small team of workmen are the last hope to keep their town alive through the long, storm-filled night. But the many horrors that await them are beyond anyone’s worst nightmares.

I'm a Scottish writer, now living in Canada, with twenty novels published in the genre press and over 300 short story credits in thirteen countries. My work has appeared in a number of professional anthologies and I have recent short story sales to NATURE Futures, Penumbra, Read Short Fiction and Buzzy Mag. When I'm not writing I play guitar, drink beer and dream of fortune and glory.

My ebooks are doing well for me, with THE INVASION reaching #2 in the Kindle SF charts, THE VALLEY reaching #1 in Historical Fantasy, and THE HOLE reaching #3 in Horror.

You can see more of Willie at his website.

Willie’s author page can be found here.

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