Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review: Midnight Mass by F.Paul Wilson

Midnight Mass By F.Paul Wilson

416 pages Paperback Tor

When I was young there were three authors I could also count on, that I considered my three favorite authors whose books I enjoyed over every one else. Those three were Clive Barker, Richard Matheson and Stephen King. As an adult my tastes have changed, the amount of authors I have read have expanded and within the last year I put F.Paul Wilson into my current top three(Today he is with John Shirley and Robert McCammon).

Midnight Mass is prime example of why Wilson is on my top three list. Compared to a lyrical artist like Barker - Wilson's no frills stripped down prose is perfect for me. Wilson is focused on the important stuff, story and characters. No one plots a novel or epic tale like Wilson, while this stand alone novel doesn't entirely showcase that strength as well as the Secret History of the World stories, this novel is perfectly plotted.

The greatest strength of Midnight Mass is the excellent characters and anyone who has read a Wilson novel knows none of those characters are safe. Wilson has knack for plot misdirection, often he will convince you a character is protagonist who you are prepared to join on this journey when they up a die, leaving you shocked 1/3 of the way through the book. That happened to me reading Midnight Mass, when a character I assumed was the hero gave up his life to save a friend. Wilson is tough on characters, and rarely is anyone safe. It adds tension to his books for sure.

Midnight Mass is a vampire apocalypse story, Wilson's long awaited take on the creatures (he tricked us in the Keep, making that novel seem like a vampire novel when it was something much darker) and it was worth the wait. This is not a rehash of I Am Legend but the water comes from the same well. In this novel Vampires have taken over Europe, India and the middle east. China and the U.S. Are fighting the rising tide. The east coast is under vampire control at night, human blood farms are growing along with a human resistance.

The two main characters are a disgraced priest who was falsely accused of child molestation just before the end times, a nun who secretly loved him and his best friend a rabbi. Add in the priest's militant vegan feminist niece and it sounds like you have a set up for a joke. No punch line here, just fantastic and interesting characters. Wilson develops them well, and tests their various faiths as the world ends around them.

This is far from my favorite Wilson novel, but that has more to do with the strength of his various other works. It is a great well thought out take on the Vampire mythos and a must read for fans of serious vampire novels.

No comments: