Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ghouls by Edward Lee

The murders were only the beginning. No one knew what went on in the sullen, dark house on the hill, but town cop Kurt Morris intended to find out. The sleepy town of Tylersville, Maryland was being stalked by an unimaginable evil, it had become the haunting-ground for horrors too grisly to be described. Young girls had vanished without a trace. Graves had been opened, corpses unearthed and carried away. Quiet moonlit nights gave way to a mindless slaughter, and to the sounds of hysterical screams… DARK HORIZONS Time was running out. How many more would be dragged off into an endless night, and for what hideous purpose? Fear led to wild speculations about psychopaths, crazed animals, vampires, and werewolves. But Kurt knew better. Deep in the fog-shrouded woods, he had seen the nightmare figures. And the truth was much, much worse… GHOULS!

Ghouls by Edward Lee is a small town mystery story, with hints of the flourishes that would come to define Edward Lee.  Ghouls is the first book Lee wrote and did not later disown, and revolves around Kurt Morris.  Morris is a small town cop in his hometown of Tylersville.  Lee’s does a phenomenal job of fleshing out the feel of the town and the population.  He creates tension in every shadow, not only for the fantastical elements, but the darkness that inhabits the residents.  None of Lee’s residents of Tylersville are small town caricatures.  Even some the least sympatric characters are fully drawn out. 
Occasionally the story leaves Tylersville for Saudi Arabia and Florida, however the bulk of the action occurs in Tylersville Maryland. 
Kurt Morris is the reader’s guide to the town of Tylersville, and through his eyes we see the utter desperation and shit of the town, as well as its unrealized potential.  The town itself becomes its own character.
Lee gives the reader’s hints of the fantastical, and we know something is killing the townsfolk that is unnatural, but Lee keeps his creature(s) well hidden leading to a series of very satisfying and well-earned reveals.  The story slowly builds up momentum chapter by chapter until the fast tense ending, where pages just fly by.
In the End;

Edward lee has crafted a tale in a very distinctive place, with a cast of interesting and well thought out characters.  With slow, earned and consistent reveals Ghouls is a book earns its scares, and shows why some of us hold old school style horror in such high regard.      

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