Sunday, March 27, 2016

Strange things afoot at Mt. Shasta.


By Ray Garton

Publisher: RGB Publishing

Pub. Date: March 13, 2016

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Ray Garton has been scaring the pants off of readers for a while. The books I have read by him, noticeably Live Girls and New Neighbor, are adult dark fiction with a good bit of horror reminiscent of the splatterpunk days and even some fairly kinky dark erotica. However he has written over 60 books. So it is fair to say that there is probably a lot of themes and variations in the author's clearly talented repertoire.

Vortex is certainly different from anything else I've read by him. Vortex features a pair of detectives, Karren Moffett and Gavin Keoph, who specializes in the investigation of the paranormal. Their main employer, Martin Burgess, is a very rich writer of horror tales who uses the two to check out odd happenings around the globe. In this particular tale, the odd happening centers on Mt. Shasta in Northern California. If you are familiar with the area, you probably know that its attraction to the New Age target population of the human race rivals that of Sedona, Arizona. Damn vortexes!

Moffett and Keoph are an interesting pair complete with some emotional baggage between them which I presume come from other stories Garton has written. However, Vortex works well as a stand-alone novella. The author has a way of getting you involved with the characters quickly and he is able to do that here with even the secondary ones. The plot itself is fairly simple but features a very intriguing creature and a talented and empathetic girl, a clever lamb among the wolves so to speak. I really do not want to give too much away. The story is too brief to go into detail. It will spoil the surprises. So it is sufficient to say that Vortex is fast moving, enjoyable and actually a bit charming. The horror element is there but certainly not at the levels I expect from the author. That is exactly why I was surprised and thrilled by this entry. It certainly makes me wonder about the other books he has written about Moffett and Keoph.

If one is looking for an intriguing cross between mystery and the paranormal, this will be a good bet. It is a solid and fast read that still leave the reader satisfied despite its brevity. And if you are still hungry after devouring the adventures of these two investigators, then you can always hunt down the other tales. How can you lose?

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