Friday, May 21, 2010

Invisible Fences Now Shipping

A while back I posted my thoughts on Norman Prentiss' upcoming book Invisible Fences. To put it mildly, I was blown away, and experienced the odd excitement you get when you have knowledge of something great when it happens. I've talked about a lot of books here, some of which I liked and some I didn't, but if you are ever going to pay attention to me, do so here and order the book. You can get it through Cemetery Dance.

In keeping with my recent habit of self-plagiarism, here is an excerpt from what I said about the story in December of 2008:

The story starts in Maryland, in the 1970s. A brother and sister, Nathan and Pam, live with their protective parents. Their father tells them stories of the horrible things that happen to kids who cross busy highways, who go into the woods by themselves, and so on, in order to keep them from doing the same dangerous things. In effect, erecting “invisible fences” like those used for pets around his children (this is one of those metaphors that is so perfect, you feel envious for not having thought of it yourself). But no fence is completely impervious to children, and the kids pass through them, with life-altering results.

The second part of the book takes place in Alabama, where the family moves, and involves a grown-up Nathan coming to grips with his past. I won’t give anything away, except to tell you it is a ghost story (although you could certainly interpret it in non-supernatural terms if you wish).

The story most closely reminded me of the work of the late Charles L. Grant, who was the dean of the school of so-called “quiet horror”, although I liked Invisible Fences better than Grant’s work. Although it is short, Prentiss brings his characters to vivid life, and makes you feel some of their angst and turmoil, like good writers do. This could be the beginning of a great career, and I’m eager to see what Prentiss does next.

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