I got back into reading horror novels after reading Stephen King's On Writing, tracking down The Stand and re-reading my copy of It. Along the way, through people I followed on Twitter and who had good insights from the blogs I followed, I checked out Firetok by Gordon A. Wilson.
I wasn't disappointed. Firetok follows the tale of Douglass, a man who had struggled throughout his life with inner demons and has dreams and visions about future events. It leads him to an encounter with an old man and a dog -- the dog is named Firetok and Douglass develops a kindred spirit with him. Through the visions Douglass experiences and his bond formed with Firetok, Douglass learns about a child smuggling operation involving others close to him. Along the way, Douglass must make decisions about the relationships in his life and what he really wants
Douglass is a complex character who is easy to sympathize with. I liked how Gordon painted his troubled past and how Douglass is trying to redeem himself and become a better person. You find yourself rooting for Douglass and hoping he comes through.
The backstory does tend to get lengthy in parts, particularly in the way Gordon writes the narrative. We enter the story about midway through Douglass' search for answers, then get into events that unfolded prior to where we jump into the story. Some readers might get impatient going through the backstory and want to focus more on what Douglass is going through in the present time.
However, once the narrative catches up to ongoing events, the tension builds and the book transforms from one that progresses slowly to one that is difficult to put down. I found myself drawn in by the final few chapters, wanting to know more about how events would unfold. Kudos to Gordon for keeping me drawn in as the story reached its conclusion.
Perhaps a good way to describe the writing in Firetok is "patience pays." If you give the book a chance and relax while you go through Douglass' backstory, you'll get the payoff with a strongly-built climax and tension that keeps you on your toes.
Firetok is a recommended read for any horror fan. You can order it through Amazon.