Nightcrawlers by Tim Curran
I first came to reading Tim Curran by taking the advice of my friends in the Goodreads group Horror Aficionados. The people there really know their stuff and I’ve found a ton of new favorites because of them. So, I read Dead Sea by Curran and was blown away. The imagination that went into the monsters of the story, and I can guarantee you that there are many, is something very rare in horror fiction.
I fell in love with the book and continued to read him. I have yet to read everything the man’s published, considering how slow I read and how fast he pumps them out every year, and of course I’ve read some things from Curran that I thought were bad (no author’s perfect). When I think of horror fiction written in today’s modern world, especially monster fiction, I would have to say that Tim Curran is the only one who can do it the way it’s supposed to be done.
I may have mentioned this top part before, but it really needs repeating. Every fan of horror fiction should be reading Curran.
When I came to Nightcrawlers for the first time, I have to admit that I didn’t like it and put it down. What can I say? I’m a moody reader sometimes. I went back to it recently and started again from the beginning. I figured out quickly the reason why I didn’t like it so much the first time around. It was because part of Tim Curran’s brilliance, in my opinion, is his ability to create deep, dysfunctional characters that mimic real life people we all have probably known or do know. The people who populate Nightcrawlers at first seem empty in comparison.
This lack of characterization continues, for the most part. But here’s the catch: this isn’t a character study as some of Curran’s other works are.
Nightcrawlers is simple. It’s a monster story and an ode to H. P. Lovecraft. I would say that this story has two of Lovecraft’s in it: The Colour Outer Space and Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family. It is also completely Tim Curran. Curran manages to own the story and the monsters within it. But one cannot deny the spirit of Lovecraft.
So, having read the rest of the story, I can say that I had a great time reading it. You do get to know the characters more and more the deeper you go in, and one thing that surprised me is how much we got to know one character when she wasn’t even in it for very long.
Throughout the story, including the ending, Curran shows his talent for creating actual frightening scenes that can linger long after reading them. If you let them. And you should. It is why we read horror after all, isn’t it?
3.5 Dweller Heads, rounded to four for pure fun and creepy vibes.