Brian Keene's 'Darkness on the Edge of Town': A Review
I have always enjoyed Keene's novels. I've always been impressed by his ability to tell a story, and how his characters almost leap off the pages. For the most part, Keene hasn't let me down, but in all honesty, I haven't been this disappointed in one of his books since I read 'Ghoul'. While I'm not going to say that the story is bad, I just think that its faults outweigh it's good points. Is every book written by a particular author going to be a best seller? No. It just seems that 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' is a misstep in a long line of winners.
Robbie and his girlfriend Christy seem to be enjoying the quite life in the small town of Walden, VA. Nothing exciting ever happens in Walden until one morning they wake to find the town is completely dark. There isn't any electricity, phone signals or radio waves either. The dark is preventing any energy sources from penetrating. This isn't the dark that we're used to, it blocks out the sunlight and the starlight. Anyone who tries to venture past the darkness are never heard from again. The town's only homeless man is running through the streets claiming the apocalypse has arrived. It isn't long before the town's civilians show their true colors. Murders, rapes, looting and madness become a normal occurrence in the dark. Robbie and Christy have holed up in their apartment, feeling safe from the craziness outside, although, they couldn't be more wrong. The true terror isn't something they can see, but rather what lurks in the deepest darkness. The dark's mist is seeping into their minds, infecting their thoughts with the urge to kill and the promise of blood is igniting their most hidden desires. What lies at the heart of the darkness? More importantly, can it be escaped?
Let me make one thing absolutely clear. I love Keene's writing style. Everything from his characters, his voice and the plot appeals to me. However, with that said, I was incredibly disappointed with 'Darkness on the Edge of Town'. The characters, Robbie and Christy, weren't endearing in any way. They were hard to identify with, and I didn't feel anything for them. Although, I did take a liking to Dez, the town hobo. As a secondary character, he is the only one to jump off the page. The plot seems like a lukewarm rip off of 'Ghost Walk'. The darkness just doesn't seem as scary since we've seen it before. Without a mysterious character like 'Ghost Walk's Levi, there isn't much holding the story together. On top of everything, the ending really pissed me off! The end came so abruptly, that I was left with more questions than answers. Did everyone escape? What lies behind the darkness? Without a few more scenes, or even a sequel, I was left dumbfounded. If this was my first Brian Keene novel, there is no way I'd read another. I'm only giving this story two stars. The story doesn't feel complete to me, and I wonder if this novel is best left lost in the dark along with Robbie..
Give the novel a try... maybe you'll find something special about it that I didn't.