'The Dark Stalkers (The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer #1)' - by Henry Bassett
'I: The Dark Stalkers (The Dead Chronicles of Martha Railer #1)' by Henry Bassett is an incredibly unusual story and not simply for the most obvious reason.. that there's absolutely zero dialogue.
Told from a sort of.. drifting point of view between a handful of characters, some human.. and some shadows, it seems to lack any specific direction. Though in this case, that's also not a bad thing. Rather than a story with any discernible plot, it reads more like a glimpse in the lives of these characters. There's no indication of a purpose and much of the circumstances actually appear to be outside the reader's range of observation.
Initially, the story begins by following the main character.. Martha, as she rides a train through the city. There's emphasis put on the darkness and isolation she feels, as well as the reality of it around her. The shadows are somehow both menacing and almost sympathetic, simultaneously.
Throughout the days, we get peeks of Martha with her friends, more sightings of the shadows, and even a bit of drama. We learn a bit about the shadows.. but just enough to leave us with a lot of questions. And by the end, we almost wonder how much of it was real.. if not for.. certain remnants of evidence along the way.
It feels very metaphorical, but even if that's the case.. who's to say what's being philosophized? How much theoretically could just be manifest of the mind? The collapse beneath the weight of all that lonely isolation.. or a uniquely literal, yet wholly unbelievable experience?
There are a couple of minor issues where the author uses two divergent ideas together, the combination of which seems to make no sense. But after reading it in its entirety, I have to wonder if they're intentional.
I'll tell you, I enjoyed the book and I certainly have my own theories, but perception is everything. It's a short read, that will leave you pondering it longer than it takes to reach that final page. Hours later, that's exactly what I'm doing.. and that.. if anything.. is a sign of skill.
I do believe this is going to be a very niche book. It's stylistic and unlikely to appeal to the average reader, but I know there are others like me out there. Others who will read it.. and find themselves fascinated.
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