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BlackoutOne of publisher Dark Fuse’s collection of sci-fi/horror novellas, Blackout is a story about what happens when the lights go out and the normal illumination of a 21st century town is replaced by something very dark indeed.

When he awakes from a post-BBQ-with-the-neighbours sleep, Jon finds himself alone in a darkened house. The lights don’t work and his wife is missing and when he looks out the window into a night which seems almost tangible, he thinks he sees something slither away into the bushes. In the sky towards town electric blue lightening strobes at regular, repeating intervals. And when he opens his door and enters the suffocating night, he hears screams.

Blackout is a well written, tight story with believable characters and a horror we can all relate to: which one of us has never been afraid of the monsters that lurk in the dark? Curran takes this shared, almost primal fear, and infuses it with a 21st century take on War of The Worlds. The author takes our hand and leads us further and further into his nightmarish world, the horror escalating with each chapter.

We are never properly shown what the aliens look like. Instead, Curran shows us snapshots, close ups of a gaping maw, a cable-like tentacle, allowing us to fill in the rest with our own imagination. Where this book really succeeds is in not supplying a motivation for the terrors inflicted upon earth by these creatures. We are left to infer our own conclusions…and what is scarier than the unknown?

Another good title by Curran. 4 Poodles.

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I also reviewed Nightcrawlers by the same author and you can read about that here.