The Waking Dark opens on “the killing day,” when 5, seemingly normal people, become murderers. At the end of the day 12 are dead, including all, but one, of the murderers. A year later and Oleander, Kansas has resumed some sort of normalcy, but then the storm hits, leaving residents cut off from the outside world, and trapped inside town limits by officials. There’s something in the air after the storm though and residents begin to search out and use their own forms of justice (or are they just acting out their own dark desires). Little old ladies are shooting cocky football players, the church Deacon is claiming to hear the voice of God, and the lone surviving murderer from the killing day has gotten herself back into town limits. A small group find themselves thrown together (mostly based on the fact that they seem to be the only ones who think the town is losing it) and try to figure out what’s going on and survive the chaos before Oleander implodes.
Wasserman, gives readers a solid horror story, incorporating our own dark desires, the claustrophobia of being locked in a small town, perhaps a government conspiracy, and even hints of supernatural forces lurking beneath the surface. While this book had enough intrigue to keep me reading, and was an excellent read for a rainy October evening, this reader found it to be missing an atmospheric element that would have pushed it over the top to be a truly great horror novel.
Great if you’re looking for a dark read.
For more horror stories check out our Chilling and Creepy blog post.