Friday, May 11, 2012

Loathsome, Dark and Deep / Aaron Polson

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Horror/Historical

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: YES
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“Aaron Polson currently lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife, two sons, and a tattooed rabbit. To pay the bills, Aaron attempts to teach high school students the difference between irony and coincidence while cultivating a healthy relationship with the works of William Shakespeare.”
For more, visit Polson’s website.


“After months of silence from the H&P Lumber and Pulp logging camp, strange raving madmen have wandered out of the woods. Henry Barlow hasn’t carried a gun since his wife’s brutal murder, a memory he drowns nightly with bourbon and whiskey. When reports of the strange goings on at the Lewis River camp reach H&P, they send Barlow and a small band of armed mercenaries upriver to investigate.”


Sometimes I feel like the master of the bad analogy. I have another one for you here. Imagine you’re driving on a narrow, winding, two-lane mountain road with very little traffic. As you drive around curves in the road, you keep hitting potholes, which force you to slow down. If you want to get to the destination enough, you deal with it, but they’re still an irritant.

That’s how I felt reading Loathsome, Dark and Deep. The potholes in this case were copy-editing misses, each one minor, but coming frequently enough to slow me down. And I do mean minor. Things like a missing ‘a’, ‘the’, or ‘of’. An occasional verb tense or homonym error. If you tend to skim past those things, you won’t notice them here. If you’ve trained your internal editor to pay attention, it will slow you down. On the plus side, you’ll have more time to look at the scenery.

Despite taking my reading off cruise control and paying too much attention to the road, I liked the story. It takes place in what was then the Oregon Territory, and is now Oregon and Washington State, in the 1800s. Although primarily a horror story with a large dose of adventure in a historical setting, it has elements of mystery and what I’ll describe as primitive steam punk. Although it doesn’t have zombies, it comes darn close, for those who are into the living dead. As you would expect, with this kind of genre mashing, it will also keep you guessing.

Format/Typo Issues:

A large number of minor copy-editing misses.

Rating: *** Three stars

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