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Review: The Dunfield Terror by William Meikle March 13, 2015

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews, Lovecraft.

Another free Netgalley advance read!

I read a lot of stories and novels that draw on the concepts and entities created in HP Lovecraft’s fiction. More to the point, I’ve read some of William Meikle’s short fiction in anthologies, though I can’t remember at the moment what I thought of them. But when this popped up on Netgalley I thought I’d give it a shot.

The title’s an obvious tipoff that this is something Lovecraftian, referencing The Dunwich Horror, and the info on the author’s site and publisher DarkFuse’s site doesn’t shy away from the Lovecraft connection, but it isn’t the kind of cliched list of Necronomicon knockoffs and Cthulhu companions that still pop up from time to time. The simplest description would be that it’s a cross between Stephen King’s The Mist and Lovecraft stories like The Colour Out of Space and From Beyond. It pulls off those different approaches by alternating between chapters set in the present day involving a small Newfoundland town hit by a blizzard and a mysterious phenomenon with chapters set decades earlier showing how that phenomenon was brought into being.

Meikle’s website gives the impression that he’s happy to be thought of as a pulp fiction kind of guy, and while it’s true that this book is more entertainment than art, it’s pretty good entertainment. The Newfoundland modern day chapters paint a believable picture of hard working guys in a small town getting a beating from the elements; the flashback chapters have a noticeably different narrative voice. As the book builds, the focus moves from dread and suspense to more action and all-out horror.

Meikle does a good job of presenting classic King-style horror and Lovecraftian cosmic horror without once mentioning the Necronomicon or Cthulhu or any of the other usual trappings. He’s not doing anything as unexpected as mixing Lovecraft with the Beat Generation, like Nick Mamatas did a few years ago, either, but so what. Sometimes you want a rollicking good yarn that keeps you turning the pages, and this book definitely delivered that experience. If I’d bought this I’d’ve figured my money was well spent, and I’ll be paying more attention in future when I come across Meikle’s name again.



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