Saturday, October 31, 2009

Invisible Fences, (Cemetery Dance), by Norman Prentiss

Norman Prentiss' debut is a haunting tale of reminiscence and regret, of how things thought laid to rest long ago still lurk at the bottom of our souls. His prose is smooth, nearly flawless, and his narrative voice invokes a Gothic, literary tone. Best of all, the chills lie solidly in the strength and substance of the story, rather than something tacked on in pastiche at the end.

Nathan's earliest childhood memories consist of boundaries, both invisible and real. Early tragedy framed their lives, scarring both their parents: his father, prone to cautionary tales told to keep he and older sister Pam out of trouble; his mother, agoraphobic and withdrawn. However, trouble finds Nathan regardless, and eventually the entire family moves away to start not-so-new lives elsewhere.

Years later, both parents have passed on and Nathan – the one who stayed around – is saddled with the responsibility of tying up their affairs. A monumental task faces him: cleaning out a house not only stuffed with decades' worth of accumulated junk, but also saturated with memories, stories...and something else that has come creeping back to remind him of all the things he thought he'd left behind.

A popular tag-line of contemporary horror reviews is that: “John Doe offers the SCREAM (or whatever) that's been missing from horror lately!” At the risk of engaging in this hyperbole, in his first solo work, Prentiss really HAS offered something often missing from horror fiction: an ACTUAL story. The chills are there, but they are subtle, part of the characters and their existence, rather than an affected trope. This is the mark of a writer who will enjoy a long, successful career and critical acclaim.

Visit and pre-order “Invisible Fences” today, before supplies run out.

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