BOOK REVIEW: Quiet Places
– By Dave Dubrow
When you pick up Jasper Bark’s short novel QUIET PLACES (and if you like horror you’ll do just that), know that you’ll be holding a stick of dynamite in your hands. It’s got a slow-burning fuse, but when it goes off, you will be completely blown away.
Billed as “cosmic folk horror”, a classification of genre fiction heretofore reserved for this book alone, so far as I can tell, Quiet Places tells the story of Sally, her lover David, and the Scottish town of Dunballan. First and foremost it’s a tale of secrets, from Sally’s unusual past to David’s family history to Dunballan’s disturbing past, present, and future. Full of hidden depths, the novel takes on a bizarre form of storytelling: flashbacks predicated on diary entries unearthed from the secret history of the world…and yet it works.
As is typical with Bark’s material, it contains a number of themes and raises at least as many questions as it answers. How far would you go to save the one you love? When faced with the Morton’s Fork dilemma of terrible choices, what do you pick? And how do you live with the consequences?
Fans of Bark’s Run to Ground, The Final Cut, and the short story How the Dark Bleeds will be thrilled to learn that Quiet Places continues the mythology of the Qu’rm Saddic Heresy, the true story of the universe and what lies behind it. Once the door to Bark’s mythos opens, it sucks you in and keeps you from putting the book down in a way horror fans haven’t experienced since Lovecraft started putting tentacles and unpronounceable consonants together decades ago.
Short books get short reviews, and the last thing I want to do is ruin any of Jasper Bark’s surprises. The Beast is right behind you. What’re you waiting for? Click the link and get reading.