A riveting and terrifying sequel to "Downward to Darkness" by the World Fantasy Award winning Secret Master of Horror
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Worse Things Waiting based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Worse Things Waiting is the third Lovecraftian novel of Brian McNaughton. Like the others, it had an original cheapo mass market paperback, Satan's Seductress from 1981. I quickly leafed through that book and I don't think it had the same pornographic bent that Satan's Love Child did but I can't be certain. At any rate, in 2003 Wildside Press issued this very nice trade paperback edition that allowed the author to correct the text to his preferred version. Thank you, Wildside Press! Page count is 159 with text starting on page 7; cost is $14.95 with no discounts (a bit pricey but this book is not otherwise available, so what's a fan to do?). There is no cover art again, somewhat typical for Wildside Press' editions of McNaughton's work (his two short story collections and Downward to Darkness). The several line biography in the back is the same as in the other books in this series. Editing and production qualities are good. Worse Things Waiting is a direct sequel to Downward to Darkness. In fact, I think it is rather difficult to make sense of what is happening in WTW if you haven't read DTD. It probably still works as a book but do yourself a favor, and read Downward to Darkness before coming to this book; it's a very fun read and can be recommended on its own merits anyway. Four years after the events in DTD Amy Miniter returns to Mt. Tabor, CT. She is now the sole survivor who has any connection to the massacre at the end of DTD. Rose Laughlin was found guilty of murdering everyone else and died in an asylum a few years ago. George Spencer has vanished and is assumed to be traveling abroad. His son, Howard, was assumed to have run off with the cheerleader, Shana, while Bruce never awoke from his coma. She has become very withdrawn and socially timid; her very idealized fantasy life has nothing to do with the way she actually interacts with the world. She is fixing up her mother's home for sale while living at Brooksprite Gardens, a new apartment complex built on land reclaimed from the town dump (and you remember what was buried there...). Her neighbors, Toni Sloane and her boyfriend Todd figure into the story too. Martin Paige is a hack author of letters to men's magazines and has ghost written a book that was made into a movie for a famous writer he despises, Hogarth Zuner, all the while working on his magnum opus, a fantasy The Swords of Windsor. I have to say that these two main characters are so deftly drawn the really do jump off the page and become alive. This was some of my favorite writing by McNaughton; the reader really identifies with his characters. In fact Martin Paige's life predicament was presented in such a razor sharp fashion that I wondered if part of him was autobiographical, considering Mr. McNaughton worked 10 years as a night manager in a motel. Martin has come to Mt. Tabor with the hopes of writing a true crime article about the massacre at the mill, and as such he is desperate to meet Amy. When he finally does encounter her, he comes across as a pathetic and somewhat creepy loser to her, while he is so smitten he falls hopelessly in love. Amy has been having weird dreams, for lack of a better word, where two voices are speaking in her head and making her do things she otherwise wouldn't, and where time seems to be rather malleable. Little does she know that she is not the only person experiencing this. It also turns out Dr. Howard Ashcroft is still around, still attempting to find the Necronomicon, still attempting to obtain power while presenting himself to the world at large as an eccentric earth loving pagan. He tries to entice Amy to a pagan Sabbath, aiming to use her innocence as a sacrifice, much the same as he did in Downward to Darkness. Meanwhile, still pursuing his story, Martin breaks into George Spencer's house, finding his notes and the Necronomicon. As Amy's visions become weirder and more intense, Martin manages to meet George. At least he meets the brief earthly manifestation of wha
Although not the conclusion I was hoping for, still a great story. I should have known by reading all his other works that it wouldn't end happily, still, this guy can write! Lovecraft would be honored.