Only a couple months ago, DarkFuse released “Conjure House” by Gary Fry and I thought that it was a very good novel with a Lovecraft-inspired theme. When I got an advanced reading copy of “Lurker,” a novella by Gary Fry that is scheduled to be released by DarkFuse in November, I was eager to get right into the story and see if I would find another strong story based on Lovecraft’s mythos.
Meg and Harry have moved out of the city to the Yorkshire coast to escape for their past. That is the hope, at least, as Meg has been falling into an ever-deeper depression after the child of her long postponed pregnancy is stillborn. Harry agreed to the move even though he must travel out of town for part of every week for work in the hopes that his wife will emerge from the darkness that hangs over her with the change of scenery. Neither of them suspect that there is an even greater darkness hanging around their new home.
Meg starts to investigate the history of the area and the numerous disappearances that have occurred along the coastline and begins to develop a theory on a being that is behind the instances in which people just disappear. When she finds clues that there may be something lurking close to her house, she begins to fear that this evil creature may be closer to her home than she had feared.
Gary Fry understands horror. He knows that while throwing the horrific in the reader’s face can be effective at times, it is the darkness that already lurks in the reader’s mind that is even more terrifying if the author can turn it loose. In “Lurker,” Fry does just that. Fry uses the story as more of a framework to force the reader to think about the monster rather than just create a monster, describe it in detail, and then set it loose. The monster is out there but, much like Meg, the reader is left to discover it on his own. Rather than give the reader a monster, Fry gives the reader the means to create a monster from their own imagination and that makes it all the more powerful and terrifying.
“Lurker” is a great example of quiet horror fiction that allows the reader to fill in the gaps of the story and make it all the more horrific. Gary Fry handles the mythos and the atmosphere in the story with a deftness that is often missing in modern horror. He does not feel like he has to provide a detailed description of the horror but rather allows the reader to take in the tension of the story and turn it into a personal terror. Fry’s mastery of Lovecraft’s mythos is in full display in this novella and is a fresh and original take on the themes. Fry recently signed a nine book deal with DarkFuse so there will be many more great stories from this accomplished author in the near future. If “Lurker” and “Conjure House” are any indication, DarkFuse has found another author to carry on its tradition of publishing the best horror in the business for years to come.
I would like to give a special thank you to DarkFuse and NetGalley for this advanced reading copy. “Lurker” will be released by DarkFuse in November.