|Submitted by Bob Reiss |
(Aug 28, 2005)
Originally posted as a single novel, Serenity Falls was recently released in a three volume mass paperback set.
Book #2: The Pack
While probably having the worst name of the series, the second book is strongest of the series and it’s where the story truly takes off. This time the focus of the book is not on the curse haunting the town, or even out anti-hero Jonathon Crowley, who doesn’t even appear until until the second half of the book. This time the focus is on the townspeople, and even more so, the children.
The evil entity that has been slowly drawing Crowley to Serenity Falls, now focuses his energy on the town and playing games with it’s residents. Among the games he plays is possessing certain townsfolk, causing them to act outside of there character. The children themselves are tormented by ghosts and bad dreams, and one child becomes the conduit for the souls of Serenity Falls dead between this world and the world they have been trapped in since their deaths.
Yet, beyond the horror and mayhem, the true beauty of this novel is the developing the characters that were only briefly touched on in the first book. Sheriff Jack Michael’s, is more than just a loyal lawman, but a figure as tragic as the town itself. Mike Blake, the banker turn town drunk, pulls himself out of self imposed stupor since his wife died to begin once again gaining the respect of himself and his neighbors, only to have his world turned upside down in the form a beautiful, yet oddly familiar women. Deputy Victor Barnes, who we only saw as the helpful biker in the first book, becomes a main character, as a newly hired deputy who gives us an outsiders perspective on the town.
Then there is the kids. A group of misfired kids, like Farm boy Dave Pageant, feisty best friends Charlene and Jessie, and tormented Stan Long, may just be the towns only chance against the forces building up in the town. It doesn’t help that there is a pack of wild, seemingly changed dogs roaming the woods, terrorizing and slaughtering the residents of this cursed town.
Moore cleverly intermingles many horror archetypes, monsters and vampires, horny kids at make out point being terrorized, demonic possession, ghosts, and of course, the horrors of childhood bullies, yet, he understands the clichéd aspects and builds and manipulates the reader. Yet, while he has some of Stephen King’s flair for characters, he also has some of his flaws. Many scenes are overwritten and it can get hard to keep the multiple characters straight and try to remember their connection to the past. . He also uses the “hit you in the face” foreshadowing (…and that was the last time she ever saw her sister alive…) that is a literary trick, and one that becomes painfully obvious. Yet, in the end, The Pack works because the characters do. At times the story gets bogged down and confusing, but in the end, Moore it pulls off.