Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review: Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
Chet Williamson
Available through Amazon in hard cover, mass market paperback or Kindle edition & as an e-book or audio book (read by the author), and on Smashwords as an e-book.

A brief word of introduction: Chet Williamson is no stranger to horror fiction. As such he is what I would consider an established author with a readership. He did me the courtesy of speaking to me on Facebook (he and Joe R. Lansdale, to be precise), and through the conversation, it became apparent I needed to read Ash Wednesday ASAP. I ordered it off Amazon and read it in 3 days. 
3 days.
I never read a book in 3 days.
But I did with this one. I read it while waiting in the car, while in the tub, while waiting for something to cook in the kitchen. When I had a spare moment, I was reading.
Get your hands on a copy of Ash Wednesday and see how a horror novel is written.

"Goddamn, Chet." 
I thought this more than once while reading this novel, about a town called Merridale, and the bizarre thing that happens there. 

One night, all the dead of Merridale show up, glowing blue, where they died. If it was crossing the street and getting hit by a car, if it was sitting in the den watching TV, if it was in the hospital - where ever they took their last breath, and in what ever state that was, that's where and how they appear. For no discernible reason. 

How the denizens of the town handle this phenomenon is vast and varied. 
And if you think the dead coming back as zombies is scary, you ain't read nothing yet. No, these dead don't do anything, per se. But the chain reactions they start are quite enough. People lose their faith and their sanity. Some become greedy, some become cowardly. In some, long buried histories come raging to the fore to finally be exposed to the light of day. 

And I quote: "He closed the ten-yard gap then, walking dreamlike to the banquet table to gorge himself on the physical evidence of his guilt. The guilt opened now, like a bloom fully mature, its five blue petals gleaming in the sun..." 
Chet Williamson writes brilliant prose like the above example, turning something odd into one of the most brutal things to happen to a community. 

They don't write them like this very often. 
Mr. Williamson needs to write more like this. A lot.

For more on Chet Williamson:
Chet Williamson
Chet Williamson on Wikipedia
Chet Williamson on Twitter
Chet Williamson on Facebook

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