Monday, April 14, 2008

The Necromancer by Kevin Dunn

ISBN: 9781591460718 - Crystal Dreams Publishing
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (3/08)

Kevin Dunn's "The Necromancer" is set in the extremely tumultuous times at the end of the seventeenth century. The year is 1692 and the infamous witch-hunt has begun in Salem, Massachusetts. People are falling ill and dying of smallpox.  Tempers are running high. Neighbors are telling on neighbors, reporting them for real and, much more often, for imaginary crimes.
Two unlikely people are thrown together – the very pure and innocent Susanna Harrington, a young woman from Salem, and the Reverend Ambrose Blayne, a man with a violent and unhappy past and a dark secret. He is 'The Necromancer' – a very dangerous and very powerful warlock. His seduction of the pure, naive Susanna will lead the young woman down an incredibly vile, sinister route.
While the characters in this book are undoubtedly formidable, the sheer saturation with evil and brutality makes them too distant to be believable. Kevin Dunn's writing is occasionally stiff and feels overwhelming at times. Sometimes use of more straightforward words and phrases makes for less laborious reading; and austere is not necessarily boring. On the other hand, I found author's insights into the human soul and the low resistance of most people to foolishness and iniquity very enlightening.
Kevin Dunn's "The Necromancer" is certainly a powerful book, but unfortunately too dark for my taste. While I am certain it would appeal to the lovers of dark fiction and horror stories, the very graphic and vivid descriptions of the orgies and rituals, the incessant evil and cruelty as well as the pervading sense of malevolence throughout the book did not endear it to me. That does not mean that the book is not a good one, it simply means that I did not manage to connect with it. But if you are a horror lover, by all means go for it – this is a truly dark and truly scary one!

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