By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns. Below a town ravaged by the Great Depression, an immortal society thrives, built on the backs of slavery and pervasive immorality.
I'm a sucker for underground worlds to begin with, fascinated by abandoned mines, subway systems, and the like, because who knows what flourishes down there? Well, Glen Krisch apparently knows. And it's nothing nice, that's for sure.
The story catches you right from the start, when Jimmy and George sneak out of their homes at night for one last adventure. The entire book is peopled with rich likeable characters that are fully drawn and display a wide depth of emotion. Cooper, the transient who feels pulled to the town, and one house in particular, is especially well developed. He has a full back story that gives us insight into his motivations. I'm also partial to Jacob Fowler and Ellie Banyon, the siblings of the missing boys, and the only children who play a large part in the book.
While, on the surface, the daily lives of these characters are being played out, dark characters exist underneath the town in a system of caverns and mining shafts. They exert their influence on the town and its people in horrific ways. I've seen some reviewers call them zombies or vampires, but I really don't think there's an easy classification for the monsters Glen's created. They don't decay in the underground and they have way more thinking capacity then any zombies I've read about. They don't drink blood or consume flesh like vampires, although the above ground air and sunlight do have a negative effect on them. No, Glen's monsters are original, but just as horrific.
The novel is definitely a battle between good and evil, but its not just the good townsfolk vs. the evil under-dwellers. Its also a battle of justice vs. the evil men do. Its a social commentary on the evil that men inflict on one another.
The novel is set in the 1930's and is rich with historical background. Its grounded in the gritty realism that was life in the depression era. And it travels even farther back, to the days of slavery and the plight of runaway slaves, those who helped them, and those who hurt them.
It was a great book. I highly recommend it to all horror readers. I think fans of Scott Nicholson's would definitely enjoy it, as well as fans of Dan Simmons. I look forward to reading more of Glen's work.
As always, I've interviewed the author over at The Author Spot. Stop by and read about my chat with Glen Krisch. I think you'll enjoy it.
Where Darkness Dwells, as well as Glen's other books, is available on Amazon.