Written by Brian Knight
Published by Earthling Publications (03/06 release date)
Child abduction is a terrifying reality. The number of kids that go missing every year, every day even, is astounding. We’ve all seen their pictures in stores and on the news, heard the Amber Alerts. It’s enough to make even the most hardened horror fan cringe.
It’s this intrinsic fear for our children that Brian Knight attempts to tap into with his novella King of Souls. The tale begins when a down-and-out father named Jim receives a desperate call from his missing daughter, Beth, who begs for help before being cut off. The number on the caller ID belongs to a local recluse and refuse collector derisively referred to as “Johnny Junk.” Jim tries to notify the local police, who are apparently headed up by his ex-brother-in-law. That, as well as the earlier false accusation of a local gay couple, leads the police to dismiss Jim’s claims that Johnny Junk has his daughter — and probably the rest of the local kids that are missing too.
Rejected by the law, Jim calls on some old friends, fathers of some of the other missing children he’d previously befriended in a short-lived support group. After gathering some information from a friend at the local paper and learning some disturbing rumors about incest, Jim and three other men head off on a mission to retrieve their children from the mysterious man who for years took in the town’s used appliances.
Jim and his three buddies, Galen, Frank and Ken, embark on a journey that’s as twisted as the maze of old fridges and stoves they have to traverse. The four men are not well developed characters, but their plight is one you can easily relate to. Up to this point, the story is a bit weak with too much explanation where none is needed and not enough where it is; however, once they enter Johnny’s property, things begin to warm up. Though the language is at times a bit repetitious, Mr. Knight does indeed paint a dark and eerie picture of the four men traveling through the dangerous dark to save the ones they love.
The suspenseful build-up peaks rather quickly with a not so surprising twist revealed rather suddenly and a weak ending. Knight’s core idea is indeed a pretty dark and unsettling one, but the execution leaves much to be desired. But it’s not all bad. There are brief flashes of brilliance like shafts of sunlight through a forest of trees. Still, one would hope that Mr. Knight takes more time with his next project. All in all, King of Souls is an okay read if you’ve got a little time to spare while waiting in the doctor’s office … if you happen to see a copy sitting on the waiting room table.
Discuss in our forums!