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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Nathaniel (John Saul)

One of the staples of horror stories is that often, the past returns to haunt and torment the characters involved.  One such story of the past reaching into the present for revenge is "Nathaniel" by John Saul...

After the death of his father under mysterious circumstances, Michael Hall and his mother move to Prairie Bend to spend time with his grandparents.  Soon, a voice starts to whisper to him from the shadowy ruins of a barn- propelling him to discover why the town is so fearful of births... and who Nathaniel is...

John Saul, in my opinion is on the same level as Stephen King when it comes to writing horror fiction- though his stories are a bit more subtle, and build at a slower pace.  I really quite enjoyed "Nathaniel".

First off, the style is very atmospheric and moody, without exagerating the details.  Saul doesn't paint every errie detail, but allows the reader to let their imagination creep along the dimly lit hallway to the door where the monster is waiting.  Each step is well thought out, and emotionally charged.

It helps that the characters are believable and sympathetic- even when they aren't necessarily nice people.  They're well fleshed out, and engaging enough to draw you into the story and evoke the emotions that are the mark of a good horror story.

I wouldn't call it a "deep" novel, with a moralistic theme, because it's not.  It's simply an enjoyable story.  While authors usually use their stories of terror to examine human nature in a different light, Saul focuses on just telling an errie tale that entertains you.

I'm going to put "Nathaniel" in "The Good"

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