Review: The Lurking Season by Kristopher Rufty

the-lurking-seasonAbout The Lurking Season

The legends were true. The creatures were real. And now they’re back!

People have whispered about the tiny humanoid creatures in the woods and cornfields of Doverton for decades. Three years ago a wildfire devoured much of the rural village, but as the ashes were cleared, more questions were uncovered—including abandoned houses, missing people and dead bodies. Since the fire seemed to wipe out the majority of the town’s woodland acres, the murmurs about the creatures have gone quiet. The residents have begun to rebuild their lives, trying to forget about the tragedy that nearly killed them all. Yet the mysteries remained unsolved.

Now a group of people will go there with good intentions, venturing into the dead heart of Doverton, thinking it’s safe. But they will find out that the legend was only sleeping. Now it’s awake. And ready to kill again.

About the Author

Kristopher Rufty is the author of Angel Board, The Lurkers, Pillowface, A Dark Autumn, and Oak Hollow. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood.

He hosts Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film.

But what he's best at is being married to his high school sweetheart and the father of two crazy children who he loves dearly. Together, they reside in North Carolina with their hulk-like dog,Thor, and numerous cats.

For more about Kristopher Rufty, please visit his Website

He can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.

My Thoughts

[Note: I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher via NetGalley for review.]

Kristopher Rufty knows how to lay his hooks into a reader, and he really drew me in with a knockout closing to the first chapter, which introduces the tiny and wicked threat of the wonderfully named Haunchies. There's just something about that name that I totally dig - it's somewhat innocuous but carries a bit of mysterious weight, a certain edginess to it.

And these Haunchies...sheesh. Despite their diminutive stature, they're as bloodthirsty and nasty as you'd expect and desire in a work of dark horror. Rufty doesn't hold back, and, in fact, I'd dare say he brings every gruesome staple to the table here - there are impalings with rusty nails, stabbings, assaults, rape, and all kinds of other nasty business to curl your toes, including some truly creepy body horror that, on more than one occasion, made me squirm.

Let's face it, though - if it weren't for an interesting story and solid characters, this book would be nothing more than a bloody mess. And while there's certainly an abundance of dirty deeds on display, the story at work was one I mostly appreciated, with some reservations. A group of social justice crusaders, many of whom have been victimized themselves, are working on rehabilitating an abandoned farmstead to serve as a recovery center for abused men and women. Only too late do they learn of the horrors surrounding their cheaply gotten property and of the fires that ravaged the now largely abandoned community of Doverton.

Although The Lurking Season is a sequel to Rufty's earlier The Lurkers, I hadn't read the prior installment and never felt like I was missing any vital information, and this book works well enough to stand on its own two-legs. The precipitating details are related as urban legends, and work to fill in both new reader's like myself, as well as the book's cast of characters (and based on the info given therein, I'm certainly compelled to check out The Lurkers one of these days).

As far as the characters go, well, I wasn't quite as sold on them as I was on the story and the turbulence upending the Doverton farm. Aside from Heather and Erin, two of the book's central females, I didn't particularly latch onto anyone, although the severely victimized Brooke was one to root for, if only because of the perils she found herself thrust into. The book has a pretty large cast, too, with the point-of-view shifting between multiple characters, but most of them lack a sufficient amount of depth and serve only as fodder to get run through the meat-grinder.

Overall, I wasn't completely blown-away by The Lurking Season, but I did find it be an engaging read and will certainly check out Rufty's other books. The climax was suitably satisfactory, even though I found find a few moments to be stretching the bounds of credibility. However, those with sensitivities toward reading scenes of graphic sexual assault should be warned, as there are a number of rapes and threats of sexual violence throughout, which are quite disturbing.

Buy The Lurking Season at Amazon

Michael Patrick 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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