BLIND SHADOWS, James A Moore and Charles R Rutledge, Arcane Wisdom, $49, limited to 150 signed and numbered copies, 300 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.
I’m more impressed with the writing of James A Moore with each new book of his that comes into my library. He has also had some marvelous collaborations and this one is no exception. This may be the best of all and I’m ready for a sequel or three featuring the characters I met in this Gothic Georgia tale.
Sheriff Carl Price calls his friend, Wade Griffin - a sometime private investigator, to the scene of a murder outside the town of Wellman, Georgia. The victim is a friend of theirs and has been ritualistically killed with stakes through his eyes and genitals, lashed to a St Andrews’ cross and embellished with strange characters carved into his body. The worst thing about it was that he was still alive when it took place.
Wade takes pictures of the carvings and seeks help from Charon, who runs the local magic shop and has knowledge of many arcane subjects. Sheriff Price follows his investigation by questioning Merle Blackbourne, the patriarch of a clan well known for meth making and other lawless pursuits.
Charon uses her computer skills and knowledge to track down an expert in the arcane and she and Wade visit him to gain more information. Carter DeCamp aides them in translating parts of the symbols, but does appear to know more than he lets on.
The backstory of the history of the area and the Blackbourne family make for interesting reading and give an historical feel to the events of today and make it more real to the reader. Moore and Rutledge do a delightful job in the creation of the setting and for those of us who live in Georgia can almost pinpoint where the events take place.
Meanwhile Sheriff Price receives a clue, but is attacked by Frank Blackbourne, a mountain of a man who has supposedly been dead for over twenty years. Other strange things begin to happen and the story gains speed and begins to move at a breakneck speed as stolen cars, missing people, the Old Ones, and interdimensional beings enter the puzzle.
Moore and Rutledge have created a marvelous tale that would find a home in the tales by Lovecraft or Manly Wade Wellman. It is a story of re-opening gateways, human sacrifice, the return of the Old Ones, and plenty of action.
Don’t let this one get away. There are only 150 available and it should sell out quickly. Check out the specifics at www.miskatonicbooks.com.