An Old-Fashioned Horror Story: “Eternal Darkness” by Tom Deady

Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness is reminiscent of one of my favorite Stephen King novels, Salem’s Lot. The book follows the paths of four fourteen-year-old boys in the small New England town of Bristol, Mass.

Ben, Richie, and Jack have been best friends forever and, as summer winds down, are looking forward with eager anticipation to starting high school in the fall. Greg is new to town. His father and man-servant, Karl, have moved into the old Brewster place, one of the homes on Ben’s paper route. Greg is a lonely boy and embraces his new-found friends with enthusiasm.

However, all is not well in the once peaceful town of Bristol. Heather Flynn’s young son, Aaron, has gone missing and she suspects her ex-husband, Eugene (aka Twitch), a ne’er-do-well biker, is responsible. However, she is in for a surprise when she discovers something much more sinister is at work here.

This is an old-fashioned vampire story. No sparkly vamps full of teen angst here. Deady’s undead villain is ruthless, cunning, and can be cruel. He does, however, have a soft spot for his son and, like Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows fame, spends his evenings searching for a cure for the defect that makes him, and possibly his boy, creatures of the night.

This novel is fast-paced, a real page-turner, and the characters are fully fleshed. As in Deady’s debut work, Haven (Bram Stoker Award-Winner), the young boys he depicts seem real and identifiable. I had a grand time reading Eternal Darkness and, as Deady has left some of the threads untied, am looking forward to a sequel.

This is an excellent horror story, firmly rooted in reality. Highly recommended for fans of the genre. Five shiny stars!