by Michael Rowe
Cover Artist: Erik Mohr
Review by Mario Guslandi
ChiZine Publications Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781926851457
Date: 20 October 2011 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Michael Rowe's debut novel is hard to define. In a way it's just another vampire story, actually it appears to be a more ambitious book trying to incorporate various themes and subplots .
The main story involves three people travelling back from Toronto to Parr's Landing, a small mining town in North Ontario. The trio includes Christina Parr, whose husband has just died in a tragic accident, her teenage daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy, gay and unemployed. Helpless and bereft of financial resources, they are going to seek refuge at the house of Jeremy's mother, a bitter, domineering woman who will make their life unbearable.
Other characters are returning to Parr's Landing at the same time: Billy Lightining, a man endeavouring to discover the truth behind his father's murder, Richard Weal, a psycho whoís the target of an ancient vampire trying to have his corpse resurrected, and a runaway teenager going back home to save his mother from an abusive husband.
The plethora of characters and the author's failure to remain in full control of the various, interwoven sub-plots, make the story slightly disjointed and therefore a bit hard to follow. Rowe is a good writer but after all he's neither Dostoievski (or any other classical Russian novelist) nor Stephen King (in spite of some slight echoes of Salemís Lot).
Other components make the soup even juicier but maybe too rich: ancient Indian legends (the Weetigo), the French colonization of Canada ( the vampire is a 17th century Catholic priest attempting to colonize the natives), the social contempt for homosexuality (the novel takes places in 1972).
Aficionados of vampire fiction will find the classical canons of the genre framed within a complex yet atypical tableau; fans of graphic horror will also get their share of gore and blood spilling (e.g. when a bus passenger is beheaded and cannibalized by Weal); lovers of edge fiction told in a seductive prose will also have reason to rejoice.
Enter,Night, however, is a good but not a great novel. Somehow it remains not quite accomplished, a bit tedious in certain parts, and a bit confusing in others. But Rowe surely exhibits real talent and Iím looking forward to his next work.