Having received Harry Shannon�s Night of the Beast and also having heard so many good things about it, I picked it up yesterday and I�m about 100 pages from completing it. I had little doubt that I�d like it, as so many astute readers and authors have praised it.
Sacred Indian Grounds and Ancient Evil are just about the hoariest clichés in the horror field. Right up there with bloodsucking vampires. In Night of the Beast, Harry Shannon proves that there are no tired ideas or genres; only poorly executed ones. Which excludes this fun book. Harry obviously loves the genre and this story could have come up in the glory days of the mid 1080�s. A burnt out songwriter flees LA to his boyhood home, where something seems to be VERY wrong. Many of his old friends are still there, and they are glad to see him, but strange things are happening to them.
No, this isn�t a blazingly original plot, but Harry clearly states in his introduction that Night of the Beast wasn�t intended to be. It is a labor of love and is intended to be a lot of fun. Does he succeed? I�d say, YES. I�m enjoying the hell out of NotB and I heartily recommend it to those old enough to remember the old days and also to younger readers who are just looking to have a great, scary time reading a pulpy novel. The pages fly, but not at the expense of the characters, which is really where the heart of this novel seems to be. I�ve said it again and again, that�s what great fiction is all about; the characters and whether we care enough about them to keep reading until the end. Harry Shannon has assembled a lovable assortment of small town eccentrics that keeps this novel�s pace going strong.
If I had to compare Night of the Beast with any other author�s works that I�ve read, I�d say Rick Hautala or Joseph Citro or even Bentley Little. I even see a bit of early Stephen King in these pages.
If one cares enough to look for these things, I see Night of the Beast working on different levels as well. It appears to me to be about redemption and exorcising personal demons from our minds and our past. In his intro, Harry is pretty forthright about the hurdles he had to overcome during the long passage of this book�s struggle for life. I get the feeling that even had this novel never seen publication, it would have been remarkably therapeutic for the author to create.
However, Night of the Beast did see publication, from a small press horror outlet. That�s very nice, but this book deserves more. It would be a perfect entry in Leisure Books� line of paperback titles. Even before I�m actually finished it, I can tell it�s a lot more engaging than some of the Leisure Books I�ve read in the last couple of years.