Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Book Review: Moonlight by Keith Knapp

Keith Knapp’s novel Moonlight takes the post-apocalyptic zombie story and turns it on its head, giving us a fresh and exciting new voice in horror fiction.

First, the electricity goes out. Then people find out that cars, cell phones, portable radios, watches and clocks have improbably stopped working. A darkness soon begins spreading across the Chicago area and surrounding suburbs. People are turning aggressive, violent and homicidal…and when they are killed, they just get right back up and attack again, moaning “No more room.”

With modern society crumbling, a dark man in a trench coat appears, intent on turning the world into his own personal playground of hell. A few survivors, including an alcoholic writer, a mayor, a psychiatrist, an artist and a pregnant woman, band together to try and stop the dark man from spreading his darkness any further…or is it already too late?

Moonlight is a very enjoyable and quick read, despite the seemingly long page length (the novel is 500 pages, but the spacing and font are pretty big, so no worries). Also, instead of taking a clichéd look at a post-apocalyptic world, Knapp shakes things up a bit with a different story that features plenty of twists. Also, the villain is very intimidating and the “zombies” (if you want to call them that, though these reanimated corpses are organized, retain their memories, can talk to and manipulate people and are basically puppets of the dark man in the trench coat) are vicious and scary, not at all like the aimless, shambling dead you’re probably used to.

The gore is also nicely done. Knapp uses very effective and descriptive passages to describe the ever-present carnage. The book if pretty graphic, so hardcore horror fans won’t be disappointed!

As for the characters, Knapp has the main characters developed enough so that you actually care about them. I found myself rooting for the rag-tag team and actually concerned that they make it out alive. There are also a few twists with some of the characters that will definitely surprise you! I also liked the realistic reactions the characters had to the world’s impending doom. No one had any easy answers and many characters made bad decisions that resulted in others’ deaths.

The story is well-written and expertly paced. There is never an instance of boredom and everything moves at a quick clip. I did feel like the big showdown at the end was a bit rushed and anticlimactic, but I was still pleased with the book overall.

My only other complaint isn’t with the story itself, but with the novel’s title, Moonlight, which doesn’t really make sense in the context of the story. I hate that it makes an otherwise excellent book sound like a teenybopper vampire novel!

Other than those quibbles, Moonlight was a very entertaining read! I highly recommend it to all horror fans that want quick and breezy reading material that doesn’t skimp on the gore.

Available on Amazon!

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