Review: Star Winds At Dusk by Robert DeFrank

Genre: Dark Fantasy

Rating: Yay, with some caveats

First, let me say that DeFrank has descriptive writing chops. He weaves prose that can amaze and even mesmerize. I was impressed with the level of writing, and at how easily I could slip into this Lovecraftian universe he’s created.

Second, this is a book of short stories. The themes within and the underlying current lead the stories to have some effect on one another, but you can’t skip one in favor of another. In order to grasp the entire story I had to read everything. Characters pop up multiple times throughout, including an ever elusive and feisty feline.

Some parts of the tale were very reminiscent of Poe and King. A horror that seeped into my bones, and made it a bit difficult to continuing reading when the children went to bed and the majority of the lights were shut off. Though I didn’t stumble across graphic violence or horrific scenes, DeFrank offers a subtle horror, which permeates throughout the novel.

If you enjoy tales that spark the mind, dive into mythos off the beaten path, and contain Lovecraftian elements like the famed Cthulhu and other bits/pieces from Lovecrafts stories. In ways this is a decent homage to Lovecraft’s cosmos and tales and overall it’s a play on established mythos with new bits of horror and suspense that kept me engaged.

The big attention grabber is how the stories are connected. Descriptions of certain characters, names not quite revealed, had me guessing if the person was who I thought it was or a new piece of the puzzle. I can honestly say the ending surprised a bit and the horror element kept me from giving up before all the pieces fell into place.

If you’re a fan of dark fantasy or if you enjoy Lovecraft this may be up your alley. If you’re a fan of linear story-telling with a chronological order or books that play the rules I would invite you to check out the posts for other books we’ve reviewed this month.

Get a copy of Star Winds at Dusk at:

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This Week’s Read: Star Winds At Dusk by Robert DeFrank

StarWindsatDusk_LRGA father searches through the woods for his missing daughter, and confronts demons of the past in an abandoned cottage. 

A vampire recalls his sanguine birth into the society of the undead, an immortal life that has seen the rise and fall of empires, and an attempt to bring forth the Old Ones. 

A brilliant but disgraced professor and hunter of the supernatural experiences déjà vu in an accursed town where death stalks victims in their dreams. He must decipher the meaning of his premonition to have a hope of survival. All the while his foes have set deadly snares for him. 

A young man is trapped in a witch’s enchanted garden that becomes carnivorous with the rising of the moon. 

A young woman interviews a man who tells a story of his boyhood during the Depression, when he is hired to help bore a well and instead brings eldritch horrors to the surface. 

And a man scarred from war and loss enters a haunted pharos that broods over all realities, to bargain for the power to save his world. 

Each plays a role in a greater story than they can imagine in this mosaic novel of dark fantasy adventures set in a Lovecraftian cosmos. 

These are stories that take place at the edge of things, at dusk, at the changing of the seasons, in places where the walls have thinned and the immutable laws of reality have become mere suggestions. These are stories of people who find themselves at the borders and discover heroism – or horror. 

There is no peace at the gate.

Get Your Copy at:

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This Week’s Read: The Cage Legacy

cage legacy cover halfWho is Ethan Cage?

Is he just a troubled 17-year-old high school student? A quiet, intelligent kid with a bad home life? Or is he a shattered human being, a boy who lost his faith in the world when he discovered that his loving father was secretly a psychotic serial killer?

As Ethan’s world suddenly spirals out of control, he must confront the reality of his dark past and finally make the decision that will either define his life – or cut it short prematurely.

You can get your copy at:

Amazon- Print Version

Amazon- Ebook Version

Guest post: Alan Kessler

ASC

The ancients effectively traversed the separate spheres of logic and myth. They created both science and gods. Thales of Miletus, considered the father of science, was the first Greek philosopher to explain the physical world in terms of natural, not supernatural, causes. The Parthenon, however, is dedicated to the goddess Athena. In pre-modern times religion, and the logos of science and mathematics, existed as independent but not mutually exclusive ways of understanding and ordering the universe. Modernity has brought into its temples of steel and glass the money lenders while casting out into the peripheral wasteland of its culture the religionists, pagan and otherwise, who know there must be more to existence than a material world. There is a spiritual emptiness in the center of our 21st century lives. A new vacuum cleaner or trip to Disneyland won’t explain the fundamental question of why we exist.

What has become of the supernatural?

To help answer that question, let’s examine what has happened to Satan.
 He is a fiction, a boogieman who in movies and books is portrayed in soul stealing caricature as an enemy of God who wants to destroy man. For modern man, the devil doesn’t exist. The purpose of the myth creating him has been lost. We no longer see in him the complexity of his character and what it represents: all of us are fallen angels expressing at different times in our lives subtle and not so obvious moments of manipulation, base desires, perhaps even evilness–the dark part of human existence that is as much a part of us as the good.
When we regard Satan as nothing more than a Halloween character, a pitchfork and horns cliché, we lose a chance to understand, through him, more about ourselves.
In my novel, A Satan Carol, I wanted to take one aspect of his personality, the human feeling of abandonment, and explore its ramifications in a horror story about faith.
A Satan Carol is available at:

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Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

For more information on Alan S. Kessler and his upcoming projects, check out his website here.