Darkness Falling – Peter Crowther

It was a typical all-American backwater – until the night the monsters came. When four employees of KMRT Radio investigate an unearthly light that cuts off communication with the outside world, they discover that something has taken the place of their friends and fellow townfolk, and imbued them with malign intentions. Little do they know, the phenomenon is not unique to the town of Jesman’s Bend…

Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: 27th Sep, 2011
Book One of the Forever Twilight series.

I wanted to love this novel. I really did. The cover made me giggle (in a good way – zombie type things with gloves and aviator glasses? HA!) and the blurb sounded interesting. Sadly,  it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Don’t get me wrong, the writing was okay, the characters a true-blue motley crew, but the bulk of this book was about bringing the different groups of main characters together into one place and the real plot only starts when we get to the end of the novel. This is a pet peeve of mine at the moment – I really feel like all of a novel should contribute to the story the novel  is trying to tell, and this just doesn’t. It’s like four hundred pages of character and world exploration. Some of it’s really interesting, and exciting, but in the end, it doesn’t do anything other than gather everyone up and let the reader and characters in on some of whats going on.

Anyway, let me tell you some of the good things. I really did like some of the characters, and was creeped out by some of the others, which I’m pretty sure was the authors intent – why else would you put a serial killer or a lady who has the voices of her myriad of invisible children chatting to her almost constantly. They were certainly a unique bunch, and while I couldn’t relate to them all, I enjoyed the interactions between them, the interplay of secrets and suspicions. Contrary to the blurb above, the four characters mentioned are not the only main ones at all, in fact they don’t come into play until a good chunk of the book has already passed.

One of the negatives, for me, about the way each set was introduced is that each time you get their experiences of pre-flash, the flash of light and then afterwards. This can get quite repetitive and slowed the novel down for me. It was interesting the first time, but not so much each time further through the story. The author really does draw the characters well though, giving lots of history and detail to really build them up in your mind.

I also quite liked the bad guys – I know they are not going to appeal to everyone, but I found them genuinely creepy. Their slow movements, their strange behaviours and the quirk of having them all wearing aviator glasses and gloves added to their ick value, kind of making you wonder whether you should take them seriously, and then seeing what they can do, made them scarier than they might have otherwise been.

The novel reads almost like a script in some senses, and I think that a movie adaption would probably be quite riveting. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on, and I am curious enough about the characters and what might happen next to want to read the next book in the series and see how it pans out, but as a first book to a series? It wasn’t fabulous.

I’m going to be generous and give it 3 stars as I really am intrigued.