The Dark Need by Stant Litore (47North, 2013)
The 20th episode of the Dark Man series brings in Stant Litore to write about The Dark Need. The author has written several zombie themed novels. Once again I have to give credit to the series runners Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin for finding good talent and letting them write entries in the series.
The book opens with Matt Cahill, the resurrected avenger, trailing a serial killer through the northwestern United States. The object of his search drains the blood from his victims. All of the victims live in remote areas and have a dark secret they are hiding. Matt, ax in its pouch, senses the hand of Mr. Dark, his spectral nemesis.
The killer also has the power to make his face appear different to each victim. Somehow he’s able to gain entrance to a dwelling by showing up in the guise of a loved one in their past. Studying the locations of the murders, Matt discovers the killer is working his way east into the mountains.
Mat encounters a woman also on the trail of the killer. She first thinks Matt is the murder, then later changers her mind after he rescues her from a collapsing boat dock on a frozen lake. Together they join forces to take out the fiend.
This episode has a lot of mood. Litore is a very suspenseful writer:
“She stepped inside, her eyes on his. He frowned. Something about her wasn’t quite right. The intent way she was staring at him, unblinking. That slight smile, an unnerving smile—the way one imagined predators smiling from the brush as they watched a deer step down to the creek, just one short leap away from capture.”
At 64 pages, this is one of the shorter novelettes in the series. But it still manages to convey a lot dread. You’re never quite certain if Matt is going to catch his quarry. The woman helping him withholds a lot of crucial information till the end. There’s also a frantic scene involving a boat sinking in a frozen lake.
This is a good entry by an aspiring writer.
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