In a flash of light, the world changes. People are whisked away. The ones that aren't, try to pick up the pieces - attempt to make sense of the nonsense. It's something out of an science fiction show - like Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. The streets are littered with car accidents - presumably the drivers were taken with the light. Shopping centers are empty. Life has left the earth. Taken away. But to where? And why were some people left behind?
It's hard to tell whether the ones that were taken are the lucky ones in Peter Crowther's Darkness Falling - out Tuesday, September 27, 2011. It's definitely not the ones who weren't. When the light returns, bringing back some of the taken, things don't resume to normal. In fact, the people - now donning wrap-around sunglasses and thick work gloves - are alien to the world around them. Nearly zombified. It's a good concept, I tell you. However, can the storyteller keep the readers' attention?
Not sure what bothers me more. The fact that this book is riddled with punctuation mistakes - which are easily missed - c'mon, mine's not perfect. Or the fact that it's splattered with inconsistencies. The beginning of the book, the time is said to be five in the morning on the plane. Meanwhile, in later chapters, the time shift to two in the morning. When the plane makes a crash landing, they head for a Barnes and Noble that transforms into a Borders that changes back into a Barnes and Noble only to transform back into a Borders later on. On the ground, Rick, Johnny and Melanie see that the bus is being driven by Karl. Meanwhile, inside the bus, Karl is being attacked by one of the creatures and it is Ronnie who drives the bus when the three people on the street see it veering towards them. Small things like this, splattered over the pages, make me wonder how on earth the editors over at Angry Robot Books missed them. Peter Crowther states - in his acknowledgments - that the book was originally three separate volumes. This might excuse the inconsistencies if they weren't so close together. It also might excuse the repetition of earlier events; however, it would seem that Crowther simple cut & paste the passages as filler - make the book longer and the reader will think it's epic.
I'm not bashing Peter Crowther's ability to captivate the reader, however. Inconsistencies aside, the story and the characters are remarkable. Repetition aside, the story flows. Grammatical errors aside, the book is genius. Not since The Tommyknockers - the movie, as I've never read the book - have I been captivated by alien beings taking over human bodies. The novel borders on zombie domination - only these creatures are far from brain dead, even though the simplest tasks befuddle them at first. However, now that Darkness Falling marks the first book in a - what? a trilogy? a series? - I'm wondering how far I'm willing to travel this road.
I like to thank Angry Robot Books for allowing me to read this novel before it hit shelves. I also encourage the readers of sci-fi, urban fantasy and horror to join the Angry Robot Army in order to garner the same opportunities. You may even download free books for your e-readers - including this title, it would seem.