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Darkness Wakes [Mass Market Paperback]

Tim Waggoner
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

28 Nov 2006
In the small town of Ptolemy, darkness is a living thing. A
powerful thing. Its home is in the shadows of a bizarre, hidden club named
Penumbra, where it is worshipped by followers who need the pleasure it
gives them. They are addicted to it. They live for it. And they kill for
When Aaron was first introduced to Penumbra, he thought it was just a
secret club where members could indulge their kinkier fantasies. Bit by
bit, as he learned the club's true purpose, he began to change in subtle,
horrible ways. Now it's time for Aaron to prepare his first human sacrifice
to the waiting darkness. It's too late for him to back out now, but murder
is the least of Penumbra's sins. The true terror is still to come when . .
. Darkness Wakes.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Leisure Books (28 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843957948
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843957945
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,376,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Waggoner's novels include the Nekropolis series of urban fantasies and the Ghost Trackers series written in collaboration with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of the Ghost Hunters television show. In total, he's published over twenty novels and two short story collections, and his articles on writing have appeared in Writer's Digest and Writers' Journal, among others. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University's Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Visit him on the web at www.timwaggoner.com.

Product Description


An insane, twisted, exciting, impossible-to-put-down book! -- Horror Fiction Review

Plenty of chills and thrills. Engrossing reading.
-- Hellnotes

Waggoner is an excellent evoker of nightmarish terror, and his
style is eminently readable. -- Horror Reader

Waggoner is swiftly gaining a reputation as one of the best
working in the horror field today. -- Horror World

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining though lukewarm horror 13 Feb 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a very readable and entertaining book centering on a small town secret sex club with a very dark secret. Things start taking a very dark and nasty turn fairly early on in the book and it races towards the climax. Not quite as gory or scary as I was expecting but still a pretty decent read.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some temptations should be resisted 1 Feb 2007
By - Kasia S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tim Waggoner is a talented writer; I have no doubts about that after reading Darkness Waits. His writing is smooth and engrossing, the scenery is well depicted and the action rolls in non stop motion down a jagged hill of unexpected revelations. The story gains velocity from the very first page when the reader is introduced to a small Ohio town of Ptolemy and a few of their quirkiest inhabitants. Waggoner is all out with risqué and explicit erotic encounters between the members of Penumbra, a kinky sexual place and their guests or should I say their victims. Something strange and very dark is going on behind the gray metal doors placed innocently in midst of a small shopping strip.

The hero of the story is Aaron Rittinger, husband and father and practicing veterinarian. I found Aaron to be likable but at the same time full of issues. He loves his family more than anything but can't help himself and lust for his next door neighbor Caroline. When his wife falls short on her promises and goes to bed too tired to share herself with him night after night, Aaron's mind and soul start to wander and that is when he encounters Caroline and her interesting involvement with a club behind an innocent gray door...

It doesn't take long for Aaron to start changing as sex and some mysterious addiction that bathes the city at night to take hold of his entire attention span. Bodies start to pile up as sacrifices of random victims are necessary to feed the mystery that slumbers in the club and Aaron finds himself deeply imbedded between lust and terror, both emotions virtually intertwined as this tale grabs the reader by the collar and doesn't let go until the last page is turned.

I loved the ending; it was creepy and totally surprising, no cookie cutter resolution there! The book is also a very quick read and it never drags, the few times I read it while on my way to work I almost missed my buss stop. I wish some of the characters that were truly bizarre, interesting and really evil at the same time had more of a resolution because there were so many directions in which the story was spreading and I felt that the book could have been longer in order to tie a few loose ends. Overall this was a great read, not the best book I have held in my hands but still full of twist and turns and lots of inappropriate lustful passion.

- Kasia S.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How far would you go to find fulfillment? 2 April 2007
By Keith J. Kraemer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Aaron Rattinger has hit the slump that many middle aged men find themselves facing. His work life is routine, his family life is unfulfilling, and his love life is intensely lacking. He has come to the realization that he's never persued anything in life with a true passion. He's never known complete fulfillment.

Caroline is Aaron's fantasy... the gorgeous (married) woman who lives next door. Late one night in a parking lot, Aaron sees her leading a young man through an unmarked door that he had never noticed before. His mind is suddenly awash with possibilities, and his fantasies are fueled. What lies beyond the door? And what could he do to get himself inside?

Caroline soon takes notice of Aaron in a way that seems too good to be true. But can he betray his wife and his family to indulge in his desires with Caroline? Surely just a taste can't hurt...

Soon Caroline has introduced him to the world that lies beyond the unmarked door; the secret society known as Penumbra. A secret society where darkness is worshipped. A place where an unimaginable level of ecstasy can be experienced for a price. A room where the shadows come alive to please those who are willing to provide a sacrifice.

Here Waggoner leads us through a graphic tale of pleasure-seeking and addiction. Intense (although perhaps too sexually explicit at times), Darkness Wakes is a very unique glimpse into the human mind, and the depths to which people will go for fulfillment. Dark, psychological, and well-paced, this novel should serve to terrify those who have wondered what lies beyond the forbidden door, and if the grass is truly greener on the other side...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Fuckl Door 17 Jun 2007
By Joshua Koppel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Aaron is a veterinarian in a small town. The town is like many others and Aaron finds it somewhat dull. But late one night while returning a video, he notices a sexy neighbor sneaking into a nondescript door in the same strip mall. She is with a man who is not her husband. Suddenly Aaron finds himself fantasizing. He has heard of secret sex clubs but never suspected one might exist in his sleepy town. He becomes captivated by the idea of the secret place and that his neighbor plays the field. But Aaron's discovery does not go unnoticed. A third party that knows about the club spies him. Soon Aaron is brought to the club by his neighbor and he learns what it is about. All manner of excess is indulged in. Sex, alcohol, and drugs flow like water withing the confines of the small club.

But the club has another purpose. No matter how pleasurable the excesses, there is greater pleasure to be found in the back room. For in the back room waits a living darkness. A darkness than can grant unbelievable pleasure when it is appeased. Aaron's involvement with the club seems to be a catalyst and things begin to happen. Aaron's family and work become involved as the club members and the mysterious third party all begin moving forward to a dramatic conclusion. Just what waits in the back room and how everything works out is left to the reader.

While not quite as raw in its imagery as PANDORA DRIVE this one delivers what it promises. Aaron's quick descent into darkness is believable and inevitable. The plot moves at a good clip with very little filler. The finale and epilogue are satisfying and should provide a chill or two. If you like your horror bold and shocking then this is one for you. Check it out.
2.0 out of 5 stars " . . . then Aaron became aware of a low buzzing noise, and he realized that the black was moving, like an ebon wave." 13 Feb 2010
By Mark Louis Baumgart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Aaron is dissatisfied with his lot; his sex life is boring, his job is unsatisfying, his kids are rebelling, and he's got the hots for Caroline, the girl next door. Then while returning some rented DVDs, he sees his groin's desire going into an unmarked door next to the rental store with a man not her husband.

Surmising that this is a sex club, Aaron almost follows Caroline inside. The next day he seeing her jogging, Aaron stops to talk to her, dropping a hint about her late night activities. Piqued, she arranges a meeting at his veterinary clinic and kinda, sorta seduces him, raising the ire of his long-time receptionist, who eventually pays the price for caring.

He is then invited into the club (Penumbra), has mucho sex, and learns the club's terrible secret. It's the home of a supernatural being that, for a price, will grant unimaginable bliss, and this bliss is instantly addicting. After this, Aaron's life plummets completely downhill.

The problem with "Darkness Wakes" is that it's as slow as molasses in January. Aaron stays the same dense, over-age whiner throughout the novel, who mopes around for fifty pages, then is seduced. The novel then goes into tacky sleaze mode for another fifty pages, until the creature is introduced, and it's way too unoriginal to be worth the wait, and it's not even seen enough to be effective. "Darkness Wakes" tries for a "noir" touch; weak male, femme fatale, dark secrets, etc.; but just having the ingredients isn't enough, with the novel just coming across as crude, sleazy, vanilla, and perfunctory. The only good character is the Asian-American Ricia, a throw-away character that shows more personality and growth in her meager twelve pages than all of the rest of the characters, who end up being just so much furniture.

The creature's seductive powers eventually drive people insane, so to pad things out, there are some psychotic mutants (The Forsaken); ex-club members that are killing to get back into the creature's good graces. (?) They really don't accomplish much however, only popping up to keep the plot moving, and to become eventual cannon fodder. There's redundant sex speak, and an out and out cheat ending that not only violates EVERYTHING that has gone on before, but which smacks dangerously close of being a deus ex machina. Waggoner infuses all of his works with some form of surrealism, and this novel is no exception, but the few bits here and there just seem tired or unremarkable. In all of the novels of Waggoner's that I've read, the protagonists all get to their goals, but only through some extreme sacrifice, and there is some of that here, but again, the term "perfunctory" keeps coming into play.

"Darkness Wakes" often comes across as reading like a first draft; rushed, shallow, and, well, perfunctory. This novel has characters that just aren't likable or interesting, and it telegraphs events pages before they happen. When this novel was published Waggoner seemed to be trying to his falling 401k plan, as this was literally his eighth novel in about a year and a half and the strain was showing. "Darkness Wakes" could work as a metaphor for addiction, and all that can be lost because of it, but Waggoner doesn't really go far enough here. Like Death was a near masterpiece, but this book few none of that book's elements, and none of its magic, and was a disappointment to this long-time reader. In the end, this is just one unremarkable novel, that at times seems cobbled together from parts of the Hellbound movies, and needed to be given one more re-write with the good parts strengthened, and the weak parts removed.

This review was originally written for Cemetery Dance magazine a couple of years ago, a magazine that I have done, until recently, about fifty or so reviews for. The management decided, as was their right, not to publish this review, but here it is, but the age of the review is why I am a little vague on some of the novel's details.
4.0 out of 5 stars Wildly Imaginative And Highly Sexual 12 Oct 2008
By William M Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While I didn't enjoy this as much as LIKE DEATH or PANDORA DRIVE, the concept in DARKNESS WAKES might just be Waggoner's best idea to date. This is a very addictive novel and has some great moments of suspense and gore. However, it was hard to like the main character, Aaron, due to the way he treated his wife and the decisions he made throughout the book. That being said, my only other problem -- and this is not Mr. Waggoner's fault -- is the poor copyediting done by Leisure Books. I discovered over a dozen typos that should have easily been caught by the publisher. These are the things that really pull you right out of a story when you are as submerged as one is when reading a Waggoner book.

That said, Leisure should put Waggoner back in their roster because he truly is one of the best writers they have (along with Laymon, Braunbeck, Garton, Ketchum, Keene, and Clark). Waggoner is so exciting and daring with his writing, Leisure just needs to get his name out there and market him better. This guy is a serious talent.
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