Genre: Horror/ Speculative Fiction
After serial killer Dane Peters, The Rest Stop Killer, is executed, his mother is haunted by … something. Could it be the ghost of Dane? As Dane’s mother, Ella, tries to find a way to “lay her son’s troubled soul to rest,” she also has to come to terms with what she did to contribute to his demise.
A nominee in the inaugural Books and Pals Readers’ Choice awards, this is horror author Edward Lorn’s fifth novel.
For more, visit Edward's blog.
Of Edward Lorn’s previous novels I’ve read, two were much more to my taste than the third. When I pondered the reason, I realized that while Lorn describes himself as a horror author, there was much more going on in my two favorites. One was a mystery with horrific elements, the other, while primarily horror, had a strong coming-of-age theme as well. I guess this means that horror is okay with me, as long as it doesn’t feel like horror purely for shock value.
I can’t think of a fitting label to attach to Life After Dane other than horror, yet for me, like those other books that had something more going on, this story has a subtext that justifies the horror. I think it is a sense of karmic justice being served, at least it felt that way to me. Your thoughts might be different. And deciding how you feel about that will go far afield as you consider issues as far ranging as parental responsibility, victimization, and your definition of justice.
Another thing that stood out for me was the obviously conscious effort to keep the language acceptable to all except the most sensitive. The worst word I saw was damn. How Lorn did this while remaining true to the story with characters who would make a sailor blush, was an interesting touch. It wouldn’t work everywhere, but it did in this book.
And the ending. Oh, my. Didn’t see that coming.
The strongest language I saw used was the word damn. The author skirted around stronger language, implying, but not actually using it.
Added for Reprise Review: Life After Dane was a nominee in the Speculative Fiction (excluding fantasy) category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran July 18, 2013.
Review is based on an advance reader copy.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words