I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there are way, way, way too many zombie, werewolf and vampire books out there. The bloat is sickening and it’s proven to be a great downer for me when visiting my favorite book stores. I like horror so it’s naturally where I gravitate to when looking for something new to read, but more and more I’ve stopped looking as a result of this excessive gluttony of what I like to call: carbon-copy-bore. Shelf, after shelf, after shelf of SSDA (same-story-different-author) bore, and publishers continue to push more and more out their doors, like some sort of diarrhea of the press. No wonder I’ve started reading more romance…
Needless to say, barring such rarities the likes of David Moody or Jonathan Maberry, I’m tired of these non-original carbon-copies with blurbs on the cover like: “The next Stephen King!” only to find out they’re the next Uwe Boll
. I long for some real substance, an author who remembers how to tell an original story, a story that isn’t something that I’ve already read a thousand times over. Give me some classic King, Straub, or Hautala and you won’t see me until I’ve finished reading every word.
So it was with a heavy heart and leaden feet that I slowly made my way over to the horror section at Borders the other day and began the (now robotic) process of scanning quickly through the book titles looking for something new. Depressed, I was about to give up, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a tucked away binding. Like a deer in headlights I stood frozen. What is this I see?
Slowly, in what can only be described as a dream-like trance, I reached out and pulled it from its embedded home. I turned its cover to me and began to study it. Gray, with black lettering, there was nothing remarkable about it. Something was nagging me though, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And that’s when it struck me. Not a single vampire, werewolf or zombie in sight! I read the inside cover to confirm that this wasn’t a VWZ book in hiding and that’s when I knew I had done it. I had found the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack.
Dave Zeltserman’s The Caretaker of Lorne Field
was exactly what I’d hoped it’d be and then some. I remember coming home excited and telling my wife that I thought I’d found a hidden gem. Two days later I knew that I had. This has been one of my favorite reads of 2011.
For over three-hundred years, Jack Durgin’s lineage has been under contract to continuously “weed” Lorne Field. Passed down from the Native Americans who previously occupied the land, he must constantly tend to the field to prevent the Aukowie from growing. Left untended, these monsters are said to be able to take over America in its entirety in just two weeks, consuming everything and everyone.
Miserable, worn and ridiculed by friend and foe, Jack gets up every day, from dusk ‘til dawn, following the “contract” to the letter. He knows that the town has forgotten its history, but he hasn’t, and in spite of having every reason in the world to quit, he pushes on, personally sacrificing everything he’s ever had or loved, to protect the same people who shun him.Final Verdict:
I can not say enough about Dave’s writing and storytelling. It’s like enjoying a succulent piece of filet-mignon, one of the highest quality that you can sink your teeth into, leaving you full and satisfied when finished. The Caretaker of Lorne Field
is truly an original piece of work, generously flavored with emotion and suspense. It has been a long time since an author has captivated me the way Dave did. I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started (much to my dismay when the morning alarm cried out).
Long days spent bent over working in the hot sun, a berating wife and a town that no longer believes in its past is Jack’s payment for keeping them safe. I couldn’t help but sympathize with him as his life slowly unraveled, like some bad take on book of Job.
Read the first chapter and you’ll be hooked. Read the first few chapters and you won’t put it down until you’ve finished. You’ve been warned.