Wednesday, May 27, 2015

three short reads; novellas and a short novel

The Dunfield Terror by William Meikle

In this short novel, a deadly interdimensional fog bank attacks an isolated Newfoundland town at the height of a disastrous blizzard. This book is a quick read with nifty backstory simultaneously explored as the "now" story rages on. There are even flashbacks to the 1800s, establishing that the phenomena genesis in the 1950s caused a rift in time, too.

The only negative was some repetitive incidental action - drink coffee, drink rum, smoke a cigarette. Then again, at the height of a Newfie blizzard, what else can you do?

Good feel of winter storms and isolation, and interesting scifi/horror monster(s.)

I am trying to explore genres and read some tales from NECON attendees before this July's next con. Bracken MacLeod and Chris Irvin both had crime novellas out last year.

White Knight by Bracken MacLeod

Tight, quick read that hits hard and fast. An idealistic prosecutor tries to help outside the boundaries and gets caught in a noir-ish trap. Things only get worse and darker from there.

I like that MacLeod's stage was quick and small, befitting the story and novella length. The tale happens quickly, over a few days, and the setting is a smaller city of Massachusetts. When we say "Lynn, Lynn, city of sin," we aren't kidding. It works far better than trying to stage this noir-ish tale in New York City or Los Angeles. It works.

(also, see review by Charles Rutledge)

Federales by Christopher Irvin

In Mexico, law enforcement comes in shades of grey, never black & white. An idealistic Federale, Marcos Camarena, finally gives in under pressure (and threat to his life) and leaves law enforcement. He can't keep from trying to help, though. He is hired as a bodyguard to an anti-drug crusader who has already had brushes with death and assassination attempts.

On the plus side, this tale has very evocative characters and tone. I felt the heat, the sweat, the hopelessness. On the negative side, the narrative sputtered and gave out at the end, I thought. It felt like a setup for a longer work, a shift into the second act, but then it hurriedly ended.

Rather bleak stuff, but the war on drugs is a bleak subject, especially over the border in Mexico.


  1. These sound interesting, and novella is my preferred length to read. I'll try to fit some of these in.

  2. The first one sounds a bit like King's "The Mist"