My second Malfi.
The more I read Malfi, the more I want to read him. He's about to become my discovery of the year. He's able to surpass genre limitations/expectations, he never takes an easy way out and his dark fiction is exceptionally well written.
The transaction between reader and text that creates what I like to call the "horrific effect" is complex and to a certain extent subjective. Although the horrifying event may be quite overt, a death, a ghost, a monster, a killer, it is not the event itself but the style and atmosphere sourrounding it that creates horror. It's the atmosphere that suggests a greater awe and fear, wider and deeper than the event itself. This is what makes a Dark Fiction novel stand out from the crowd as far as I'm concerned.
In a superior novel, there is a sentence, a word, a thing described, which is the high point. For me the "click" happened here:
"I didn't necessarily believe in ghosts, but I did believe in the power a place could hold, could retain, and how the land resonated with echoes of its past. Charles had once told me that sometimes the places where bad things happened would suck up that badness like a sponge sucks up water. The badness gets stuck and rots and becomes like a stain, even if you couldn't see anything. An invisible stain, like on cop shows on TV, and how even after blood is cleaned up you can still find it with a black light."
Dark Fiction isn’t only about tales with zombies and werewolves. There is also room for stories about the horrors of everyday life.
Read it, in fear and wonder.