Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Morningstar" by Peter Atkins

Journalist Donovan Moon is contacted by wealthy businessman Jonathan Frost, who claims that he is the feared Morningstar Killer. Several people have been brutally murdered by this killer. However, Frost reveals he killed them because they were vampires. He recounts the events that led him to this life.

Shelley Masterton is a young woman whose close friend Chris Tempest becomes a victim of the Morningstar Killer, though her death was largely collateral damage. Chris then visits Shelley in a dream and reveals to Shelley that she will be a vital part of events that will end Jonathan Frost's reign of terror.

Yes, another horror novel. At the moment I am simply pulling a book off the shelf in the order they are stacked, as otherwise it can take me a long time to pick a book from the many I haven't read. So this was the one I wound up with. I'm getting the distinct impression from the few horror novels I've read that the author feels the need to overcompensate for the genre they're writing in by going over the top with their literary style. Not a lot really happens in Morningstar, and by the end of it I came away with the overwhelming opinion that it was wanky nonsense.

I'll readily admit that I don't have high-brow tastes in fiction. I don't read books for the joy of prose. I likely never will. I like books with fleshed-out characters interacting within an interesting cohesive, plot. An author with a wide-ranging vocabulary doesn't impress me. Being able to toss out metaphors, similes and long, descriptive phrases is similarly lost on me. Morningstar didn't so much feel like a novel than it did an exercise in fancy writing. I wasn't scared. I was bored. Not a lot happened. There was no suspense. A couple of gruesome moments. If anything, this felt like a handful of short stories woven together to make a book. There are a couple of wanky chapters called "interludes", one of which is not much more than a 17-page dream sequence.

Once again, perhaps I'm not the intended audience for this sort of book. Who knows? All I know is that I didn't enjoy it, and ended up skipping large parts so I could finish it. I think I was also expecting more from the person who wrote the screenplays for such wonderful B-grade exercises in over-the-top gruesome horror like Hellraiser 2, Hellraiser 3 and Wishmaster. I liked those movies. But I didn't like this.

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