I’m an avid reader, always have been, since I was 3. I have a lot of influences from Bradbury to Salinger, from Kerouac to King and will read practically anything I can get my hot little hands on so I was particularly pleased to be able to get my hands on “Darling” by Brad C. Hodson. “Darling” is the first novel of acclaimed writer Brad C. Hodson, who has honed his craft and passion for horror through a successful track record of popular fiction and non-fiction short stories.
In “Darling,” Hodson takes readers to Raynham Place, a former battlefield and tuberculosis hospital and home to a number of mysterious occurrences. When two friends decide to move into this shadowy complex, something appears off, something going beyond the local legends of ghosts, serial killers, and Black Hounds, something that gets inside of everyone living there. The truth behind Raynham begins to unravel and threatens to burst with horrid nightmares.
First off, I’m going to make the most obvious comparison here. “Darling” reads like a Stephen King novel and in only the best of ways. Things quickly take a tragic turn but not before they get uber creepy and mystifying not to mention disgustingly gross. There’s so many characters here I lost track at times but the few very main characters are easy to keep track of, never fear. That’s really my only complaint with “Darling” is the fact that a few of the characters seemed extraneous and a couple of times I had to flip back through the book to re-read and figure out who was being referenced and why. That’s what happens in an apartment building full of people though and add to that the layers upon layers of folklore and tall tales and it makes for one meaty story.
And what layers they were! Each chapter, each page peels back a new layer to expose a foundation of local mythology and ghost stories, hell hounds and forbidden love that’s built up Raynham Place and by proxy the people living within. “Darling” is set in Tennessee and being from the South myself, I quickly fell in love with the pure Southern gothic of the tale. The South is a fascinating place, especially when you’re sitting around on a back porch late at night, telling tales of days gone by or as Hodson says:
“Growing up in rural Tennessee, my family shared ghost stories which turned me into a lifelong horror and mystery fan,” says Hodson. “I delight in sharing with my readers tales of murder, mystery and suspense that will continue to haunt them long after they’re read.”
Even at 386 pages, this was a fast read, mostly because I couldn’t set it aside to do those silly little things that make up life like work or eating or sleeping. You’ll quickly be sucked down the rabbit hole into this creepily tense work, just as quickly as the residents of Raynham Place are sucked down the rabbit hole into their bloody, gory twisted versions of home, life and love. If you’re a fan of the horror genre and have been looking for the next big thing, look no further.
About the Author:
Brad C. Hodson is the recipient of the 2009 Roselle Lewis Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction. His fiction can also be seen in “Slices of Flesh,” “Horror for Good,” and “Blood Lite 3.” More information can be found at the book’s official website in addition to the social networking sites at Facebook and Twitter. “Darling: the Soundtrack to the Novel” is available on iTunes and a book video trailer is available via Youtube.