I still maintain that horror as a genre is desperately clinging on to life or, at the least, is a genre that is struggling to find its place in an increasingly virulent print world. In the long form, as novels, horror is definitely struggling from my perspective at least (a casual observer) though is succeeding marginally better in the short form: anthologies and collection seem to be in the spotlight a bit more these days. Elements of the supernatural have been making their way across ever blurring genre borders while perhaps the most important aspect of horror, fear, seems to remain a secondary concern. While zombies remain a popular topic of film, fiction and other media and recent strides to reclaim the vampire from the clutches of romance (Let the Right One In, The Strain, Thirst) have proved there is still a place for horror fiction across multiple demographics it appears to me that is a genre that will never achieve the popularity and acclaim as it had during the height of what I’m beginning to think of as the King Era. Perhaps it is the growing complexity and weight of the socioeconic climate of today, people are scared enough in real life maybe they don’t need or want to be scared in their leisure time as well.
Regardless it is still a genre I enjoy and one that remain a fan of. I am typically a fan of horror with supernatural elements, as opposed to the often all-too-real human monster, and I tend to find that gore is a bit of turn off in horror. Just after graduating college I was looking for some good horror to read and came across Serenity Falls by James A. Moore. Being a fan of Stephen King, and having absolutely loved ‘Salems Lot, I thought that a series of horror novels set in and around another small town might be worth a look. Luckily the book had just been republished as three mass-market novels and I eagerly snagged a copy of Writ In Blood from the local bookstore. I loved what I read. The slow revelation of a town’s dark history of violence and depravity, a strong anti-hero demon-hunter, and a promise of darker things to come were exactly what I was looking for and it was one of those novels that I polished off in fevered rush of eager reading.
Unfortunately, Grad school soon reared it’s ugly head and by the time I settled down enough to check for the rest of the series found that it was out of print and that, as far as I can tell, James A. Moore hasn’t done anything since 2006; at least that is the publication date of the material still listed on the front page of his website. I am, of course, contemplating a purchased of the remaining two novels The Pack and Dark Carnival via used/independent booksellers. If you ever see a copy of a Serenity Falls book in a store near you I highly recommend you pick it up and give it whirl. It’s one of those rarely mentioned and forgotten gems of the 21st century horror scene probably because it falls so much in line with the “classic” horror of the King era.