Saturday, August 29, 2009
The Red Horseman
by D. C. Wilson
(iUniverse / 1-440-14183-5 / 978-1-440-14183-6 / June 2009 / 280 pages / $17.95 / Kindle $9.95)
Reviewed by Dianne Salerni for PODBRAM
Strange events are happening in Brockton Falls, California – dark events that link to ancient wars and trace their history back to the arrival of Christopher Columbus on this continent. Ten year-old Eric Jessing, his younger brother Kevin, and their father Matt find themselves at the center of a terrifying paranormal adventure after their house is infected by strange, foul insects and all the mirrors in their possession turn mysteriously black. Turning to the assistance of psychic Carmen Fenwick and her daughter Pamela, the Jessing family discovers that they are gifted (or cursed) with a special ability. Their souls have the ability to reflect dark matter, the source of all evil in the world. People with this ability, called Charges, provide protection to everyone around them, but they are also vulnerable to special attack by dark forces.
After they are threatened in their own home, the Jessings seek the further advice of an antique book collector, Harker Jefferies, who sends the two young brothers on a quest to an ancient graveyard in England. It seems that the Jessing boys have been singled out by an entity called Moniades, a once human Charge now possessed by a demon and sometimes referred to as The Red Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Author D.C. Wilson certainly knows how to bring the creep factor into his writing and make his readers’ skin crawl. Insect infestations, gruesome murders, blackened mirrors, and an invisible presence in the basement caught my attention immediately and drew me into a frightening paranormal world. In fact, in spite of the age of the protagonists, I would not put this book on the shelf of my fifth grade classroom, due to some of its more graphic imagery. Manifestations is appropriate for teens, however, who won’t be bothered by autopsies and cadavers and who probably have enough background in science to appreciate how the author links dark matter physics to the paranormal elements in the book.
A good, suspenseful novel will take readers on a fast-paced ride where the events are unpredictable and yet inevitable. Although readers might not be able to see where the author is going, they should understand how and why they arrived at the destination once he gets them there. I felt that Manifestations provides this continuity to a point – but the scene that ought to have been the climax does not actually end the book. The story continues seventy-five pages past the logical climax, and the groundwork is not laid in the earlier part of the book for the events that happen afterward. The reader finds out new information that doesn’t match the old; new characters are suddenly introduced, and I felt a bit lost.
There are a few editing bumps along the way – an inconsistent use of heading to identify place and time, and occasional mistakes such as labeling a day Sunday and also Monday within the same section. D.C. Wilson has a knack for writing chilling scenes, and more novels with these characters are obviously planned. The potential for a great paranormal series is here, if the logical sequence of the plot were better maintained in the next installment.
See Also: The High Spirits Review
The Manifestations B&N Page