By Gary Fry
Pub. Date: June 10, 2014
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Gary Fry is one of the more interesting new horror writers to grace the literary scene. While his stories have the expected creepy and dark going-ons, he seems to be more interested in exploring the psychological aspects of the protagonists in his tales. In Savage, another book in the Darkfuse novella series, we have a stodgy professor who is obsessed with his work to the point of neglecting himself and the people around him. He buries himself in a sense of eliteness and the delusion of being "disciplined" That word crops up a lot in this story as well does the theme of the futility of feeling in control. He becomes lost and out of gas in an unknown area and stumbles onto a small village. The environment and the village is one of the best things in this book. It has an eeriness is quite unusual for even this type of work. The way Fry describes the natural surroundings is fascinating . For lack of a better description. Think Colour Out of Space as designed by Picasso. The villagers are of course strange but it is the professor that captures the reader's attention. Fry had a similar emotionally stunted and selfish professor type in his novel Severed. Yet the professor in Savage appears to be even more out of tune with his life. This becomes important as he is asked to "fix" one of the villagers and instead is thrown into a struggle of life and death.
It is a story with a lot of promise but once we learn about what or whom he is asked to help, it begins to become less focused. It turns into part creepy horror fantasy and part murder mystery. It doesn't feel right even if Fry's writing is so good you have to keep reading to find out what happens. The author shrouds the village and its residents in an endless mystery and I wanted a bit more resolution. The turn near the end when the professor leaves the village didn't quite work for me. And I am not sure what our selfish professor got out of it except confused. It started out as an exciting tale of mysterious happenings and ended with a whimper.
Yet I liked the novel in the sense that, through the beginning and middle, the author grabbed me up in that sense of wonder and dread that horror stories should. Fry is a author of horror that is not afraid to be different and I do like the care he puts into his protagonists. While this may not be his best work, it is still a work of a promising writer.