Written by: Chad Lutzke
Let’s be honest, some people should write and some shouldn’t. In this day and age with so many people self publishing, the e-book and print-on-demand world is tainted with a noxious pool of poorly written literary diarrhea; the new bandwagons being fifty shades of sex, vampires, and zombies. Some can actually pull these off and create something new using a done-to-death element, while others think it’s the subject and not the talent that will put their book on the best seller list. The self publishing world has taken away the credence of not judging a book by its cover, because, well now you almost can.
Dan Padavona’s novel, Storberry, isn’t anything new or groundbreaking. It’s a vampire story. It doesn’t do for books what The Blair Witch Project did for indie horror films. It does for books what The Walking Dead did for zombie films. It re-awakens it, pays homage to it, and has fun doing it along the way.
Storberry is Mr. Padavona’s debut novel. Oh, and one more little thing. He is the son of metal royalty and vocal giant, Ronnie James Dio (I’ll give you a minute to re-read that last line). Yes, that Ronnie James Dio. I’ll admit that prior to opening the first page I was curious if Dan was cashing in his “I’m-Dio’s-Son-and-I’m-gonna-be-a-writer” card with no talent to back it up, but I was very pleased to find his book is absolutely bloated with very apt capabilities. I wasn’t done with the first page before I decided I would be enjoying this book of his…and I did.
In the book, the town of Storberry is stricken with a supernatural gust of a storm that exits just as fast as it enters, taking with it the town’s communication technology and much of its power. What’s left behind is an awakened evil and a confused small town completely unprepared for what could ultimately drive them into extinction. There are more than a few uncomfortable scenes that will have you looking a bit harder at those shadows, wondering about your neighbors after dark, and staying out of the basement.
“There was something in the way he stood back, like a wolf in sheepskin who didn’t want the flock to notice the zipper.” Just a taste of why I enjoyed Dan Padavona’s, Storberry. The prose is carefully crafted with time taken on each sentence making sure you, the reader, are there with him. Though Dan is not out to impress, he’s out to tell you a story; one you can really sink your teeth into and he’s very successful at it.
Much like Stephen King’s work, Storberry starts out getting your attention and then shifts gears into chapters of character introduction and development; however, thankfully these chapters were both brief and entertaining. The only reason I wanted to push through the character development quicker was to see if he was as good at scaring me as he was at character creation. And unlike a lot of King’s work, Storberry’s ending is very worthy of reading right up to the last grin-inducing sentence.
While nearing the end of the book, I was saddened that this was the entirety of Dan’s bibliography. That’s it. That’s all we have from Dan Padavona. I want to see more from this storyteller even if it means coaxing him into a co-authoring position with myself, because writing is what he should be doing. However, my sadness was turned to hope when just minutes after I finished Storberry, an announcement was made that he released another e-book containing two short stories that will also be available through Amazon. You’d better believe I’ll be reading them, and I suspect we’ll be seeing plenty more from Mr. Padavona in the near future.
If Salem’s Lot and 30 Days of Night had a baby they would name it Storberry. Padavona’s book helps wash out that horrible, sparkly taste in our mouths left behind by other blood-sucking books and reminds us that vampires are killers, not lovers.
Oh, and for the Dio fans, yes, Dan pays some tribute to his father very subtly within the text, but you’ll have to find those on your own while you read it.