M.J. Preston’s, The Equinox, is an old school horror novel that manages to utilize a fistful of tropes in unique ways. In fact, Preston does such a good job with the familiar that it never occurs to devoted horror readers that they’ve read bits and pieces of this story before. Readers want characters that are flawed and feel real to us, we want action scenes that make us grip the pages (or e-reader) until our hands cramp, and we want our plots to feel fresh. With, The Equinox, M.J. Preston has managed to do all this in a novel that is entertaining from its first pages to its last.
Daniel Blackbird is a Native American Chocktee Indian that was cut loose from his tribe in order to hunt a being known as, The Walker. The Walker was once a Chocktee tribesman who made a deal with a supernatural creature in order to save the lives of his tribe after they were forced to commit cannibalism. This supernatural creature from another world changed the Chocktee Indian into a shape shifting monster that lives only to feed on flesh and blood.
For fourteen years Daniel Blackbird has been hunting The Walker, and as we see at the start of the novel, Blackbird has caught up with him in Chicago. But The Walker escapes easily, and Blackbird is back on the hunt.
Later on, in Thomasville, a prairie town out West, a young boy playing out in the fields sees a man burying something. After the authorities have been alerted they discover that it is the body of a young boy. Digging in the fields they find another boys body, then another, then another… They arrest the man, who admits to being complicit in the murder of the boys, but the story he tells of his accomplice is too incredible for the authorities to believe. Blackbird hears of the mass murders and he knows intuitively that The Walker is involved.
As it turns out, Blackbird was right, The Walker is involved. Not only did the monster have a hand in the serial murders, but the death of all those boys portends something even more terrifying. It seems that The Walker has plans to take out everyone in Thomasville! Only Daniel Blackbird, the local authorities, and the remnants of the Chocktee tribe stand in the monster’s way.
Preston turns what could easily have been a stock horror story into a tale that horrifies while dispensing generous dollops of Native American mysticism. The scenes between our world and the unseen mystical world are often hallucinogenic, making for some fascinating and eyebrow raising reading. And like the best of old school horror, the ending of The Equinox is an explosion of tension and violence; readers will cheer when the bad guys meet their makers and hang their heads and sigh when the good guys are torn to pieces. Put simply, The Equinox from Great Old Ones Publishing is a horror novel worth the read.
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