By J.Michael Straczynski
iBooks; ISBN 0-7434-7522-4;
340 pp; $18.95
Recently re-issued by iBooks, the first novel by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, originally publish in 1988, might be described as “Stephen King Lite.” And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The story takes place firmly in King country, a small
town in Maine called Dredmouth Point where an ancient
evil has been waiting, gathering its strength, while prodigal son Eric
Matthews, whose family was killed in the town when he was a child, has returned
to unlock the secret of his family’s death, and the strange and mysterious
black outs he suffers.
Straczynski tells his story in solid, non-flashy prose. He gets
straight into the story and drives it ahead quickly. Whereas King might have
used 200 pages of back story and small town life to slowly develop the mood, Straczynski sets the creepy mood from the outset as
Matthews slowly discovers what killed his family, what is slowly destroying the
town, and his destiny.
No one will mistake Demon Night as a great work of art, but as a solid and capable first novel, it is another example of the excellent story-telling we’ve come to expect for the ubiquitous “jms.”
Review by John W. Herbert