Parish Damned

Author: Lee Thomas
Telos Publishing
RRP 7.99, US $8.95, Cdn $11.95
ISBN 1 84583 040 7
Available 15 September 2005

Down in the keys, the small town of Coral Point is once more suffering from the blight that has visited it every four years, the insidious blight that infects its weakest citizens. In the dead of night something dark is transforming them into the Parish Damned. Only one man stands between the town and the devastation that lurks in the night...

Lee Thomas has previously won the Bram Stoker Award for his first novel, Stained. This being the case I was looking forward to reading a stonking good horror book - in this I was not disappointed. Unfortunately what I didn't get was a novel to review but rather novella, for those not in the know this is somewhere between a short story and a novel.

This format is always problematic as it usually has to dispense with exposition and any lengthy descriptions. Character development inevitably suffers with the restriction in word length. Of course this is not always a problem, for those of you who feel an anathema towards Dickensian descriptive passages might find that this book is more to your liking. Given the restricted word length the story has little choice except to rocket forward at full pelt.

It's not giving any great plot points away to say that this is a modern vampire tale. Due to the cover, the story does what it says on the packaging. So is it any good? Well I would have to say yes, I can see Hollywood script written all over it. That said, there is a very big problem with the book. Yes, you've guessed it, it's the length. An average reader will plough through this little number in less than an hour and a half as its only seventy-nine pages in length, so the asking price seems a little steep but, that's not a reflection on the author or his excellent novella.

So if you want to discover a new writer in the horror genre check this out. Personally I look forward to Thomas flexing his writing muscles on a Stephen King length novel.

Charles Packer

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