There’s a reason movies like The Shining and Hellraiser remain classics. Both require study, and anyone who claims to understand these films from a first time watching never took them serious to begin with. Debates about Pinhead’s origin and Stephen King’s meaning of the ‘shine’ might be with us until the end of time, but their with us because they’re just too fun not to contemplate.
Cult of the Eclipse is Winfield Winfield’s debut novel and with a plot so clinching, it’s unlikely to be his last. The story begins with a chainsmoking mother cruising the highway searching for her missing child. Bored with flicking ash out a slightly open window, she enters a bar bathed in neon glow. A conversation with strangers bordering on paranoia and nervous twitch ensues. [Imagine Faye Dunaway in Barfly, and you get the idea.] This woman’s whittled down not only by life but the fact she has to live it. The reader learns right from the start a worn out car is not the only thing sputtering. She’s exhausted from the hum of bald tires raging across asphalt, and by the time she staggers into the bar, her appearance and demeanor alone are enough to prompt concern from patrons.
What makes Cult of the Eclipse a page turner is the focus placed on the mother. This isn’t one of those stories where so many characters come at you, you hope the book turns into a first person shooter to weed out the main characters. For the entire book you’re with her as she tries to figure out if she’s hanging onto reality or the razor’s edge of insanity. The attention to detail and showing nature of the author’s writing comes through as the story materializes into a menacing grimace sure to haunt dreams.
The structure of the book also helps in creating a panting pace. It’s chapters are only a few pages each, perfect for readers who like to chart their progress, and periodically the reader’s reminded of a passage but not to the extent it seems redundant. It’s a well formed read and one proving the writer’s ability to craft a complex yet unforgettable plot.
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