Slightly more than two years ago, I stumbled across Peter Clines’ novel of cosmic horror, 14. It wasn’t an earth shatteringly brilliant story, but, as I described it initially, it “scratched an itch I didn’t know I had”. Since then, I’ve read The Fold, and Paradox Bound. The latter book was fairly disappointing in my opinion, and I was left reframing my thoughts around Peter Clines. 14 was great. The Fold was very good, but I had issues with some of the characters and how they interacted with the protagonists. And Paradox Bound just didn’t do it for me. I enjoyed it, as far as it goes, but found the characters largely boring and the story only mildly interesting. I even tried his Ex-Heroes series, but never finished the first book (though, I may give them another shot in the future).
So I wasn’t super enthused to read Dead Moon. But I did want to read it. Especially because it’s part of the what has been retroactively labelled “The Threshold” series – his books of cosmic horror, 14, The Fold, Dead Moon, and the just released Terminus.
This was my second attempt at Dead Moon.
Look. I still love zombies. I know I’m probably not supposed to. We’re burned out on them. World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide were amazing. The Walking Dead was good at first, and became a cultural force. But….there is just so much drek out there not worth even talking about.
This book started off as a continuation of the trend. I didn’t like it. Nothing about this book worked for me. The pacing was far too fast, none of the characters were memorable, and I didn’t fully embrace the world he’d built. Before I could even figure out who anyone was, they were facing an overwhelming force of zombies that threatened their entire existence. And I just didn’t care.
Which is why I gave up the first time I read it. Characters would die and I couldn’t for the life of me remember who they were.
But, and I’ll be perfectly honest, here: the only reason I was able to finish it this time was because Ray Porter narrates the audiobook. He’s one of my favorite narrators working today. He has such a great “every man” voice, and gives each character a distinct enough voice to make it clear who’s talking. I’d listen to him read just about anything. It’s just too bad he narrates a lot of books I don’t really love.
So because Ray Porter is so good, I was able to finish this book on the second attempt, and it ended up being worth it, I think. It’s still not a great book, and I still ended up not really caring about any of the characters, but I ended up finding the story rewarding enough. This seems more horror than “cosmic horror”, as the incorporation of the Elder Gods mythos seemed more tacked on than anything, but I didn’t dislike its vagueness.
The next book is Terminus. I may take a break before delving into it, but it’s also read by Ray Porter. So it’ll probably be worth it.
It just sucks that, instead of finding the next David Wong or John Scalzi, it looks like I found another Dennis E. Taylor. A capable author who can write interesting novels, but isn’t always particularly memorable.