Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Ravine, by William Meikle

 Although author William Meikle has quite a large body of work, most of which I haven't read yet, what I have read has been quite enjoyable. I was happy to see him find a (Hard copy) home for his work with Dark Regions, since he seemed to have mostly e-books available until he hooked up with them. THE RAVINE, his 2013 Dark Regions novella, is not his best work, but it's still a fairly compelling, well-told story.

 Meikle doesn't break any new ground with THE RAVINE; It's a very straightforward "Evil comes to a small town" story set in the old west that will be very familiar to even newer Horror fans. The story unfolds in a strange manner, opening with a group of cavalrymen stumbling into a mysterious ravine, which they discover is inhabited by Angels and Demons, and could very well be the epicenter of the battle between God and Satan.
From there, Meikle abruptly jumps to the alternating stories of Isaac, a fiddle-playing saloon bouncer, and a small family of ranchers, both of whom find themselves confronting strange, Lovecraftian horrors that threaten to doom their small town. The stories of the townspeople and the lost cavalrymen do intersect, eventually, but it took a long time to get there, and until they did, the actual scenes that took place in the titular ravine were entirely too trite and predictable.

 Meikle manages to build to an intriguing climax, but the story ends far too abruptly....He could have built it into a more chilling confrontation, especially considering how long it took our fearless monster hunters, and their readers, to get there.

 Kudos to Dark Regions for their beautiful cover art. I love cover art that actually depicts a scene from the story, as opposed to stock photos of old houses or "creepy" woods. The cover to THE RAVINE is provide by M. Wayne Miller, and is wonderfully representative of a few scenes from the novel. The folks at Dark regions need to give their books a few more passes by the proofreaders,though...the copy that I read was riddled with typos and grammatical errors.

 THE RAVINE is, as I said, not Meikle's best, but it has it's moments.

 Dark regions provided a review copy.

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