Review: Blackout, by Tim Curran

blackout

About Blackout

In the midst of a beautiful summer, in a perfectly American suburban middle-class neighborhood, a faraway evil is lurking, waiting to strike the unsuspecting residents.

First come the flashing lights, then the heavy rains, high winds, and finally a total blackout. But that's only the beginning...

When the whipping black tentacles fall from the sky and begin snatching people at random, the denizens of Piccamore Way must discover the terrifying truth of what these beings have planned for the human race.


About the Author

Tim Curran lives in Michigan and is the author of the novels Skin Medicine, Hive, Dead Sea, and Skull Moon. Upcoming projects include the novels Resurrection, The Devil Next Door, and Hive 2, as well as The Corpse King, a novella from Cemetery Dance, and Four Rode Out, a collection of four weird-western novellas by Curran, Tim Lebbon, Brian Keene, and Steve Vernon. His short stories have appeared in such magazines as City Slab, Flesh&Blood, Book of Dark Wisdom, and Inhuman, as well as anthologies such as Flesh Feast, Shivers IV, High Seas Cthulhu, and, Vile Things. Find him on the web at:

website: www.corpseking.com blog: http://satansmeatlocker.blogspot.com/


My Thoughts

I became acquainted with Tim Curran's work last summer after seeking out recommendations from a Goodreads group for some good marine-based horror. I was thinking something along the lines of the movie Leviathan, which attempted to be Alien at the bottom of the sea. When a few readers recommended Dead Sea, I took a chance on it and found myself immediately engrossed.

Directly after finishing Dead Sea, I bought a number of his other works and impatiently waited for my pre-ordered copy of Blackout to release. I also came to a central conclusion, based then on nothing more than that single book, and am none the least bit dissuaded in believing upon finishing this latest: Curran, who hails from the Upper Penninsula, is Michigan's answer to Maine's Stephen King. He's got serious horror chops, sure, and that intimate campfire voice, the kind you really don't want whispering in your ear long after night has fallen. More importantly, he's able to draw relatable, recognizable, ordinary people locked in a struggle against the extraordinary. He takes impossible situations and grounds them in characters that could easily be your boss, your friends, or your neighbors.

And Blackout certainly gets to the heart of the extraordinary, by waking up the folks of Piccamore Way to a series of timed, repeating strobe lights and an impenetrable blackness. The stars are hidden, and the night is darker than normal. It shifts as something massive and unseen hovers above. Long shiny, black cables drop from the sky, leaking a sticky goo that traps any who touch it and hauls them back up into the belly of the great beast overhead.

Told in first-person and with short, punchy chapters, Curran wastes no time cutting to the chase and diving right into the horror. Blackout is a rich nod to The Twilight Zone, sufficiently so that the mental movie playing in my head as the story unfolded was in the good and proper black-and-white film-stock.

This novella is a grisly first-contact story, War of the Worlds by way of The Mist, and Curran plays the familiar tropes with fun finesse. The read is easy and briskly paced, with the pages practically turning themselves. It's the perfect story to indulge in during a dark and stormy summer night, with a beer in hand, the lights turned low, and the doors locked. Maybe keep a flashlight handy, though. Just in case.

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Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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