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Sunday 11 December 2011

When Darkness Falls by Robyn Porter

This was a chilling tale about a group of friends involved in a car crash.  The survivors are not those who receive the least injuries however………..the 'decision' on who lives and who dies is made by quite a different judge and jury……

A newly-graduated group of childhood friends deem a camping trip a good idea not only to celebrate the end of their college days, but also to help out one of their circle, Gwen, whose twin sister, Lisa, was tragically killed 12 months previously.  Gwen is not that keen, but decides that to agree is easier than trying to resist.  The journey in two cars to their campsite is cut short by a road accident with an oncoming car.  The driver of this car and the friends find themselves in a very strange hotel, owned by an even stranger man.  Incredulous at finding themselves with fewer injuries than the accident warranted, though grateful to their saviour, they are nevertheless keen to continue with their trip.  The weather, however, is too inclement to allow their departure and their host suggests they stay a little while.  He provides his guests with somewhere to sleep, food and rules…..rules they are to follow or bear the consequences.

Things are not quite what they seem, however.  It's hard to put the finger on the mystery of this strange hotel and while events take a sometimes violent and gruesome turn, the key to survival is actually quite simple…'Reap and you will sow'.

There was clearly a moral in this story – gluttony has its price – and it was illustrated in a chilling, original and gripping way.   The author portrayed most of the group of friends as slightly unpleasant characters, but this was necessary to convey the message. All but Gwen and her sister's ex-boyfriend are not friends you would particularly care to have, for example: Brittney is a rich kid who places little value on people and their feelings and has an easy-come-easy-go attitude;  Rachel is a dark and brooding character; Casey is Brittney's puppy dog boyfriend.

Just desserts are dished out and the ending is curiously satisfying.  The hotelkeeper's words provide lessons to be learnt: "When a person is hurt in such a way that their bodies are not yet dead, their souls come to me. It is then that you are logged in. While in my care, it is by the choices you make that determine if your soul may return or not."

Wise words if you want to stay out of trouble.  An enjoyable book.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a fan of horror, so "When Darkness Falls" sounds like a possibility--especially because of the gluttony has it's price...