When I reviewed Paul Cave's first novel, Something of the Night, I
described it as being "like the Biblical flood." The story, I opined,
"washed over the reader unceasingly and warned us of dark things to come if
we didn't get a grip."
Paul, thankfully, did get a grip and has now penned his second novel.
Without hesitation I can say that it measures up very well indeed when
compared to the first.
Oscar Wilde once said that, "there is no such thing as a moral or immoral
book. Books are well written or badly written, that is all."
Cold Light of Day is, as Wilde said, neither moral nor immoral. It simply
takes the reader on a journey into the darkest recesses of the human
psyche, and then some. Its genius lies in the way it transforms innocence
into horror, normality into nightmare. One minute the hero is a track
runner, the next he is crippled in a car wreck. In the throes of sexual
passion, a man transforms into a monster. Nails become claws, teeth mutate
into fangs. You just never know when Paul Cave will wrench you from the
real world into an altogether darker environ that Dean Koontz at his best
might have trouble envisaging.
Of course, the scenario in which man takes on monster has been well
rehearsed. The X-Files did it well. Paul Cave does it brilliantly. Lovers
of horror novels become seasoned to their diet. They just know - sense -
when the next bit of bloodletting is just around the corner, just over the
Paul Cave affords the reader no such luxury. Every scene - every situation
- may begin life wrapped in innocence and end up covered in body parts. The
transition hits you like a train, judders the senses unnervingly.
In a novel which speaks of such diverse phenomena as police detectives,
soul-theft, bloodhounds, giant bats, FBI agents and shape-shifting wraiths
one should not expect a comfortable ride. Goldilocks and the Three Bears it
And yet, there is something redeeming about Cold Light of Day. Through all
the human weakness, rising loftily above the torrid sexual encounters,
there is an overriding feeling that, no matter how bad things get, the good
guys will eventually do in the interloper from God-knows-what dimension.
Ah, but do they? You just never know with writers like Paul Cave. Like the
bloodletting denizens of his novel, he cannot be guaranteed to do the right
thing just because it makes the reader feel better. His craft is terror,
Fear, said Ralph Waldo Emerson, is a teacher of great sagacity. Paul Cave,
to our voluntary discomfort, has learnt that lesson very, very well.
Read greedily and enjoy, but expect not to sleep soundly.
-- Mike Hallowell, The Shields Gazette - Written the Foreword