By Gary Fry
Pub. Date: September 22, 2014
Rating: 4 & 1/2 out of 5 stars
I have been keeping close tabs on Gary Fry's writing. He is one of those horror writers that seem to be onto something different and always experimenting. He comes across traditional but innovative at the same time. I like that. If he doesn't always hit the nail on the head he at least dents it every time he puts pen to paper.
In Mutator, he not only hits the nail on the head, he rams it through the floorboard. A professor has moved into his new country home. Problems start when he discovers a six inch hole in his yard which leads down into his basement, a basement that he finds is much larger than he thought. He finds notes and drawings that shows the previous owner was exploring this phenomenon. He also finds a six inch sphere that could have made the hole. What occurs next becomes the gist of this eerie and involving tale.
I believe this particular works really shows off some of the authors' influences. The eerie descriptions and settings of a dark mood evokes much of Ramsey Campbell's style. Most prevalent in this story is a similarity to the Lovecraftian leanings of the Lovecraft Circle. Have you ever kept thinking of a writer when you read something but you can't explain why? In this situation, I kept thinking, "Clark Ashton Smith". If Fry does not love the tales of CAS, I will be shocked. Even if the main theme of Mutator is science fiction and not supernatural, the sense of doom and dread is there especially at the beginning. But that changes. The protagonist's feeling toward the entity of the story evolves and we find ourselves involved in how that change happens. The change from a vague fear to (no spoilers) is what makes the tale different from much of the horror out there and why Gary Fry deserves to be read. Highly recommended at four and a half stars. As much as I loved this one, I am still waiting for the Fry novel that floors me. I am pretty sure it is there somewhere.