Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
It was 1984 that I wrote my first book review. The novel was Darkfall by Dean R. Koontz. Though Dean had been writing for over fifteen years, Darkfall was the third major book (Whispers and Phantoms had already come out) to carry his name in what would eventually be a long line of bestsellers. I’d purchased the hardcover in 1984 as I had Phantoms the year before from the great Robert Weinberg, who was selling horror, fantasy and science fictions books from his home in the Chicago area. Bob is also a writer of science fiction short stories and can be found on Facebook. There was one thing I learned really quickly about Bob, which is that whenever he said a book was great, it damn well was. With regards to horror fiction, I always took his advice.
Now remember this was before computers and emails and attachments. I had to stick an actual piece of paper into a typewriter, write the review, and then find somewhere to mail it to. That somewhere turned out to be the Fantasy Mongers newsletter, which came out four times a year and was put together by W. Paul Ganley. He liked what I sent him and agreed to post my reviews in his newsletter for however long I wanted to write for him.
My review of Darkfall was short compared to later reviews, but my enthusiasm for the book was complete. I wanted to share my love of fiction with other fans and what better way to do than by writing a review so that others might find out about a particular novel.
Remember, Amazon wasn’t around then, either, or the hundreds of websites that offer free book reviews to its readers. So, here’s my first review of a novel by an author I would continue to follow for the next twenty-nine years.
“If Phantoms made you a fan of Dean Koontz, then you’re going to thoroughly enjoy his new novel, Darkfall.
The story takes place in New York City (always the perfect setting for novels about evil and horror) and is centered on the arrival of Baba Lavelle, a High Priest of the dark side of Voodoo, and his quest for vengeance against the people who killed his brother.
Only one man can save New York City from the mass slaughter which is going to take place once the Gates to Hell have been fully opened—Detective Jack Dawson.
Lavelle, aware of the danger this one man poses to his mission of revenge, attempts to neutralize Dawson by going after his two children. That’s when the battle between “good” and “evil” really begins!
Like Phantoms, there are numerous hair-raising scenes throughout this novel. Believe me, you won’t want to read this at night. Every noise I now hear in the house during the cold, dark nights now send goose bumps coursing down my spine. Being scared isn’t a pleasant feeling, but that’s what I get for reading Darkfall. Read this novel at your own risk. If you do, you may soon experience the same sensations as I.”
Twenty-nine years later, I’m still reading the novels by Dean Koontz (he dropped the “R” several years ago) and writing book reviews. Hopefully, we both have gotten better with time.