Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The Harbor by Al Lamanda
I read The Harbor, by Al Lamanda, because of something I saw on Facebook. In one of the groups I belong to, Al (can I call you Al?) had posted a message he'd gotten from a woman requesting a refund. Her reason? She thought the book was too scary. What better praise for a horror writer, I ask you. So I immediately downloaded the book to my Kindle. Holidays finally finished and I realized that I had about 30 books to read. Where to start? Well I'm always looking for a good scare, so I started The Harbor.
I finished the book last night. It took me three nights to read, as I have a reading period from about 10pm to midnight every night. Last night I stayed up until one to finish the book. Yes, I was that hooked. And after I put the light out, I was still thinking about the premise of the book. And, I'll admit, I was a bit uneasy lying there in the dark. That's the ultimate praise I can give a horror novel- if it makes me uneasy after I put out the light, then it was well done.
I went to amazon.com today to see what other reviewers had said. Most were favorable, but there was one two star. He pointed to flaws (typos, wrong words, ect.). I did notice those things (I can't take off the editor glasses when I read), but they weren't bad enough to distract me from the story itself. He said the writing was bad. I disagree. Each to his own, but I feel pretty qualified to judge storytelling skill. And he pointed out that there was a lot of cigarette smoking and eating in the book (I wondered why I was so hungry!) and there was, but it fit the storyline. I don't even smoke, but had I been a character in this book, I think I would have started.
The basic story is about a small island off the coast of Maine which seems to have a habit of erupting into bloody, unsolved murders every so often. It happens again and Sheriff Mark Blaine wants to get to the bottom of the problem. There is a host of other characters in the story, but Blaine is ultimately my favorite. He's a flawed character and it lends a depth of vulnerability that really makes him likable. The murders are sufficiently gory and the plot speeds along. The central premise of possession and evil is well explained and plausible. I don't think the religious aspect was overdone at all. I liked that explanation of why some were possessed and some were granted absolution. And oddly enough, with all the gruesome axe murders in this book, it was the one accidental death that left me the most horrified. Now you have to read it, just to figure out what I'm talking about!
Overall, I'd recommend this book. The story was a good one, the characters well developed, the premise sound and the action swift. It left me thinking about it long after I'd put the book down. I'll definitely read more of this author's work.