Written by Alan Draven
Published by Black Bed Sheet Books
Canadian author Alan Draven returns to Bitternest, Louisiana, in his latest novel, Fractured Time. However, it isn’t the same Bitternest seen in his previous work.
Donovan Vicar is a young man with minimal psychic talents, mentored by a man attempting to teach Donovan to control them and maximize their usefulness for the good of man. After he has a run-in with someone he detects is evil, Donovan and his mentor agree Vicar should follow the man to Dallas and find out what he’s up to.
One wild bus ride later, Vicar arrives in the Bitternest of the 1950’s. Left on his own well before his birth, Vicar finds himself embroiled in an ongoing series of disappearances with an old friend from the future, now just a young man. Sacrifices, strange creatures, animal attacks, and a series of bizarre crimes committed by women culminate in a battle with ultimate evil.
Fractured Time is best described as a fantasy novel with streaks of horror painted across it. Draven does an excellent job juggling genres by blending time travel with gory murders and dueling wizards.
Another high point of the book is the way Draven further cements his fictional town of Bitternest. Much like Stephen King has done with Castle Rock, Draven continues to infuse Bitternest with a unique and creative paranormal background. This creates a fertile garden for storytelling, as seen with his short story collection The Bitternest Chronicles (review here).
On the down side the book feels a little long, and the cast is a bit full for the story they run in. Again like King, he exhibits the tendency here to tell every story in Bitternest, and I’m not sure we need to meet as many of the residents as we do. It makes the book drag in a few places but nothing too severe. Some minor trims, and we’d be right as rain. The core conflict of Vicar versus the most evil wizard since “You Know Who” is strong enough to carry the story along, even if we don’t get every loose end tied up by the time we’re done.
The ending leaves things open for a sequel, and Fractured Time was definitely entertaining enough that I’d like to see more from the spookiest city in the South.
3 out of 5