Monday, April 6, 2015

Book Review: To Each Their Darkness by Gary A. Braunbeck

To Each Their Darkness by Gary A. Braunbeck

Paperback, 346 pages

Published: 2010 by Apex Publications

Awards: Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction (2010)

The craft of the horror story is unique. It is sometimes a science as much as it is an art. For me the story that was my light bulb moment was The Raft by Stephen King. I started to understand how he built the story, the little moments he made to make the suspense thicker. To make the story scary and most important the emotional dept he gave to make me care about the whole thing.

The tradition of horror writers writing about their craft is an old one. It goes back to Supernatural horror in Literiture by HP Lovecraft which you find often as a thin stand alone book. Ray Bradbury and William F. Nolan had an excellent entries into this narrow subgenre. David Morrell the author of First Blood wrote one of my favorites The two most famous of course are On Writing and Danse Macabre by the king himself.

All of these books provide excellent advice, and great stories. They all are a little different and in many ways reflect the style and talent of the author.

Enter Gary Braunbeck. Well known to horror readers the Ohio native has been at it for a long time. He has not had the mainstream success that many of the names listed above but when I heard he wrote this book I put it to the top of my TBR.

Braunbeck novels and stories have several going for them. First off they are set in the Midwest one state removed from my home state. Second they drip with a darkness and emotionally wrecked core that no one else has captured. Reading his prose is like handling a rusty sharp edge.

This book is fantastic and towards the second half Braunbeck gives you a few nuts and bolts of his stories, but that is not what makes this powerful read. Sure those of us who are genre writers will learn a lot, but that is not the core of this book. Gary lets us into the pain of his life, he shines a spotlight on the events that inform his fiction. You find out where he gets the dark paints, how he works the canvas to make it blacker than black.

This not hyperbole, a 200% must read for genre authors or Braunbeck fans. I am lucky not to deal with depression but I was fascinated to see how an author overcame such challenges and created such an amazing variety of novels.

No comments: