Monday, February 16, 2015

The Boneyard, by Keith Minnion


I've been a fan of Keith Minnion since I first stumbled blindly into the world of small-press horror. I started as a fan of his art, and followed him to his publishing venture, White Noise Press, which prints some of the most amazing chapbooks that I have ever laid eyes on. His debut novel, THE BONEYARD, is the last straw, though. It's completely and utterly unfair to learn that such a supremely talented artist is also capable of writing one of the best, most original horror novels I've read in quite some time.

 THE BONEYARD is a supernatural mystery that spans decades, starting out in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1921, with a chilling disappearance. Young John Randall Pitcairn is taken up in a biplane as a birthday surprise...in short order, the plane disappears, only to reappear and mysteriously crash. The pilot is dying from thousand of strange cuts, and young John is missing.

 Minnion lays on the creepiness, as John's Uncle Lucian, who arranged for the biplane ride, attempts to find out what happened to his missing nephew during the ill-fated ride. Before long, another child is missing, and Uncle Lucian becomes aware of a place known as "The Boneyard".

 The story then jumps forward to Philadelphia in late 1983, as a series of savage murders are being committed, the victims sliced as if by a demonic butcher, their entire skeletal systems being removed and stacked neatly near the corpses.

 The case is assigned to detective Fran Lomax, a burnout making his return to the Philadelphia Police Department after an extended medical leave. As the body count rises, Lomax, like Uncle Lucian before him, becomes aware of The Boneyard and it's monstrous denizens....What do they want, and can they be stopped?

 Horror fans are always bemoaning the state of the industry, and crying about how sick they are of Zombies, Vampires, serial killers, etc., etc.......With THE BONEYARD, Keith Minnion has crafted a wholly original mythology, complete with the nastiest monsters I've encountered in who-knows-how-long. (I'm being intentionally vague about The Boneyard, it's denizens, and their intentions...This is one of those books that you're better off knowing as little as possible about before reading.) If you're getting burned out on any of the aforementioned monsters, then you really need to give this book a try, ASAP.

 Considering Minnion's high standards in his art and publication endeavors, I was expecting him to give his first novel his best possible effort, but I kept my expectations low. (As a longtime comic-book reader, I am well aware that most artists don't necessarily have much in the way of literary skills.) To say that I was blown away by his prowess as a writer would be an understatement. This is a book that many an established best-selling author would wish that they had the ability to write. I hope that Keith can find the time, between his art and publishing, to write another novel soon. Until then, I will remain in a state of furious jealousy over this unfair distribution of skill. Highly, highly recommended

 The publisher provided a review copy.