Friday 22 May 2015

REVIEW: Kristopher Rufty - The Lurking Season

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: 3rd February 2015
Pages: 339


This review of The Lurking Season by Kristopher Rufty is the result of a copy sent to Ginger Nuts of Horror in exchange for an honest review.

I have previously read The Night Everything Changed by Mr Rufty. This is a short which introduces us to the Haunchies. I loved it, so jumped at the chance to read and review this one.

I have seen some people complain that this is a sequel and is not advertised as such. I didn’t know that either. You don’t need to. It stands up very well by itself without reading the previous one.

Whispers have been in the air for decades about the little people that live in the woods surrounding Doverton. They are supposed to be vicious beyond belief. Some of the stories are horrific nightmares. Outsiders don’t tend to know them though.

A group of people are renovating an old house in the area. They are planning to use it as a retreat for people who have suffered abuse of many kinds. A place of sanctuary. A place to recuperate. A place surrounded by evils they have no idea exists. The house they have bought used to belong to the “queen” of the Haunchies. They don’t like the idea people have moved in. They want to claim the house back. At any cost.

OK, I knew what the general story was about. I knew the “creatures” involved. The first short story I read about them creeped me out for weeks after reading it. It was old school horror. People in the sticks getting butchered by little creatures that showed no mercy. I loved it. Couldn’t wait to read this for more of the same. I got the same creatures, but sadly, this one lacked the “punch” and the horror of the short.

We have an old plot. People trying to do good in an area they know nothing about. They are ignorant of the history and what has happened before. Enter the little creatures that have been there for decades and believe the humans have stolen their land. They want it back. Sound familiar?

It is familiar. It’s been done hundreds of times. The difference with this one is the creatures. Creepy beyond belief. I’m not going to describe them to you because that would give some of the game away. Take it from me – they will give you the willies. I have had two nightmares about them this week.

That single difference makes an old plot original and enjoyable to read. Mostly.

This one I’m afraid was let down for a couple of reasons for me.

Reason one – the little creatures – there wasn’t enough of them in the story. There was a lot of talk about them but I wanted to see so much more of them attacking people, doing barbaric things, creeping me out the way they have previously, being the horrific centre of all the horror in the story. They were certainly the cause of the horror but there wasn’t enough of it. The reason there wasn’t enough of it could be because of my second reason.

Reason two – sex. Loads of it. Everywhere. If the characters weren’t having sex they were talking about it. Innuendo everywhere, both subtle and straight to the point. Sexual references everywhere. It got very boring after a while.

Example: three people in a creepy house worried about friends that have disappeared. The lights go out. Oh my god what’s happening? The owner of the house goes to the basement to investigate. The two left in the lounge should still be worried about their friends? Worried about the fact that they are in a scary house with monsters running about outside and the lights have just gone out? Nah – they take advantage of Mr Owner going to the basement for five minutes, strip off and go at it on the sofa. I mean come on. In a horror story? No need for it.

I have said before I am not a fan of sex scenes in horror stories. I just don’t think there is any need for them. I want my pants scared off me, not dragged off me by some nympho while a demon has a spear pointed at me.

To summarise: I was excited about this one. I feel let down. I loved the idea of the creatures. When they are in the story the horror is very effective. There just wasn’t enough of it. And there was far too much sexual reference for me. It’s not needed.

Gets a low score this one due to the need for more horror and less naughty bits.

General rating:

★★.5 Disappointing for me.

Horror rating:

★★.5 Creepy when the horror appeared but not enough of it.

You can buy The Lurking Season here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Synopsis:

The legends were true. The creatures were real. And now they’re back!

People have whispered about the tiny humanoid creatures in the woods and cornfields of Doverton for decades. Three years ago a wildfire devoured much of the rural village, but as the ashes were cleared, more questions were uncovered—including abandoned houses, missing people and dead bodies. Since the fire seemed to wipe out the majority of the town’s woodland acres, the murmurs about the creatures have gone quiet. The residents have begun to rebuild their lives, trying to forget about the tragedy that nearly killed them all. Yet the mysteries remained unsolved.

Now a group of people will go there with good intentions, venturing into the dead heart of Doverton, thinking it’s safe. But they will find out that the legend was only sleeping. Now it’s awake. And ready to kill again.

Kristopher Rufty is the author of Angel Board, The Lurkers, Pillowface, A Dark Autumn, and Oak Hollow. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood.

He hosts Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film.

But what he's best at is being married to his high school sweetheart and the father of two crazy children who he loves dearly. Together, they reside in North Carolina with their hulk-like dog, Thor, and numerous cats.

You can see more of Kristopher at his website.

Kristopher’s author page can be found here.

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