Title/Author: Enter, Night by Michael Rowe.
Favorite character: Finnegan
Synopsis: Welcome to Parr's Landing, Population 1,528... and shrinking. The year is 1972. Widowed Christina Parr, her daughter Morgan, and her brother-in-law Jeremy have returned to the remote northern Ontario mining town of Parr''s Landing, the place from which Christina fled before Morgan was born, seeking refuge. Dr. Billy Lightning has also returned in search of answers to the mystery of his father''s brutal murder. All will find some version of what they seek - and more. Built on the site of a decimated 17th-century Jesuit mission to the Ojibwa, Parr's Landing is a town with secrets of its own buried in the caves around Bradley Lake. A three-hundred-year-old vampire is slumbering there, calling out to the insane and the murderous for centuries, begging for release - an invitation that has finally been answered. One man is following that voice, cutting a murderous swath across the country, bent on a terrible resurrection of the ancient horror... plunging the town and all its people into an endless night. ~Goodreads.com
My Thoughts: Enter, Night is the kind of book that grew on me. The novel takes place in the early 70s and it almost seems that the style itself is also from that era. There is a long buildup giving the reader a lot of background, there are a lot of characters letting the reader become invested in them and there are thrills, chills and blood, giving a definite Horror stamp, but not too much that the story is a gore fest. It's not the kind of book that jumps right into the action like so many stories today do. It leads you around for a while showing you the scenery and just when you feel pretty safe, you realize you are heading for trouble. It is subtle. I liken it to walking down a slope. It's slippery, but you think you can manage and by the time you realize you can't, it's too late.
It takes a lot to scare me and Enter, Night included several very eerie scenes and one which made my jaw drop. Literally. If you like your vampires old school and terrifying, they can be found here. The omniscient multiple viewpoints were not difficult to follow and gave the story a "thriller" formula and helped to build the tension. Even while some people succumb to the horror of the vampire, there is still that feeling that you can turn a blind eye and not realize what's happening. I think the seclusion of Parr's Landing helps to isolate the characters and the reader.
There were several characters I loved as well, my favorites being Finnegan and Morgan, the young people in the story. They have a very sweet friendship and as each feel that they are the loners in town, turn to each other. I loved how the characters and events intertwined into each other creating a rich, dramatic plot.
Row's writing worked very well to put me in the moment. He includes details that other other writers seem to overlook and takes full advantage of his own style and imagination. There are a few scenes which take place in caves in the area and the way that the silence is described is so astute and worked so well.
There are other horrifying elements in Enter, Night besides evil vampires. The story also touches on the plight of Native Americans in the 1950s and how the church worked to "save"them as well as the view of small minded people on homosexuality and how they were "rehabilitated." While not the main focus of the book, they are strong plot points that enriched the characters and gave me something to think about.
I do feel that the beginning could have been edited down, unless Mr. Rowe was trying to lead us in one direction, only to surprise us when the story went in another. Typos also pulled me out of the story and sometimes the dialogue just didn't work for me, but these were just moments within an epic story story not just of vampires, but of the history of Canada and it's people. I think the backstory and mythology of this tale is rich and detailed. In fact, there is even a sort of "epilogue" in the form of a letter that recounts events which lead to the present day story. While a bit long, I appreciated the minute details and this could be held up as a novella in and of itself.
All in all: A frightening, good ol' fashioned and unique vampire tale with lots of scares.