So, I know that I sound like a broken record, but I’m really not much of a horror fiction gal. It’s just too much for my sensitive, little imagination to take sometimes. Or worse than that, it isn’t scary or creepy at all. Basically, unless your name is Joe Hill, I am going to be a pretty hard sell when it comes to reading horror.
Lucky me, though, Brian Moreland had a new book come out this month and he is on the same list as Mr. Hill. No joke. I have loved everything that Moreland has written and I was truly looking forward to starting his new book, The Vagrants.
The Vagrants brings us the story of Daniel Finley, a journalist who believes that he can save the homeless. Determined to completely submerge himself in their reality, Daniel lives among the homeless for six months. While living under a bridge, he learns the many spoken and unspoken rules of this world that our world chooses to ignore.
He also learns of something else; something deadly. One day, a mysterious man by the name of Mordecai shows up with his group of followers. Daniel keeps a safe distance from Mordecai and observes what seems to be a quickly growing cult. After observing some truly terrifying things, Daniel returns to his life, writes of his experience living under the bridge and becomes a published author.
Just when he begins to start enjoying his accomplishments, he is thrown into a dangerous position, trying to protect his father from mobsters. Concurrently, Daniel begins seeing some of the vagrants that he knew and he finds himself in a war between an Irish-American mafia and the deadly underground cult led by Mordecai.
While there is a certain Clive Barker story that I was reminded of while reading The Vagrants, this story stands on it’s own and is as equally creepy and unsettling. Moreland has a knack of dialing up the horror and gore without going over the top. Just when you start to feel your skin crawl, he draws back and leaves you with those mental images that have just burned into your brain. Never passing the point of good taste just for the sake of gore is an elusive ingredient in many horror novels, but Moreland nails it every time. He never spends too much time on a character’s background, only to kill them off in the next chapter, and he writes characters that are easy to invest in and identify with. The story moves at a great pace and has a satisfying ending. Look no further for your new horror author; I have already found him for you.