Book Chat: Cry for the Strangers
Once a week I’ll be discussing a Book or Movie/TV Series I love. Or posting a submission from a reader/author about a movie or book in the horror or zombie genre. Sharing the love of a book or movie as if you were talking with a friend.
A strange town, deaths, Indian spirits, and a crazed killer in the true John Saul tradition, make for an entertaining read.
Oldie but Goodie, 1979
Clark’s Harbor was the perfect coastal haven, jealously guarded against outsiders. But now strangers have come to settle there. And a small boy is suddenly free of a frenzy that had gripped him since birth… His sister is haunted by fearful visions… And one by one, in violent, mysterious ways the strangers are dying. Never the townspeople. Only the strangers. Has a dark bargain been struck between the people of Clark’s Harbor and some supernatural force? Or is it the sea itself calling out for a human sacrifice? A howling, deadly…
Clark’s Harbor is a lovely coastal town. Brad & his wife Elaine came for a vacation, deciding to stay for a year while Brad works on a book. As a psychiatrist, he is puzzled and intrigued by the townspeople’s unfriendly behavior. They also seem to not care when tragedy strikes; for example, when a local fisherman drowns.
Meeting Glen & Rebecca was a nice surprise. Their son, Robby, had been a patient of Brad’s for years. The boy exhibited frenetic behavior that nothing helped, until the couple brought him to the town. Specifically, to a place called Sod Beach.
It was a gorgeous beach, but old stories of Indian’s sacrificing people to the sea in that area, put a pall over the parents enjoyment of the nearby beach. In fact, as the story flows along, we the reader, do see there are spirits dancing on the beach and seeking to influence weak minds.
Increasingly, people are killed in different ways and the locals blame it on the sea. The saying in town is that strangers bring trouble and it ends up bad for them. Clearly, there is a crazed killer on the loose.
Brad begins to suspect the strange electrical currents running through the area, created by frequent storms, are affecting someone mentally. Whereas the area has a calming effect on Robby, someone with an unstable mind is being influenced in a darkly, negative manner.
At the end, the killer is caught, but runs into the sea; hopefully to drown, but it is left as a mysterious unknown. Unfortunately, a new recruit with a mind open to the Indian spirits, takes up their cause to seek revenge on those who stole their land long ago. This was a sad part to me, and a twist I didn’t see coming, but being this is a dark read, an appropriate ending.
If you love dark, mysterious horror or John Saul, this is a good book to add to your reading list.