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The Dreaming Pool

Gary Greenwood

Razorblade Press

Trade PB

ISBN 0-9531468-7-1

136 pages ; $9.00

Review © 2001 by Rick Kleffel



Wales seems to be a hot new breeding ground for horror writers, and Razorblade Press is the publisher to bring them to readers. Gary Greenwood's debut novella, 'The Dreaming Pool', does everything in 136 pages that other writers spend 300 to 600 pages doing. He brings us into a small community, lets us get to know the people, creates a situation of weird terror, make it believable and resolves before most writers have even really gotten to the core of their opus. 'The Dreaming Pool' is an excellent choice if you want to glue your butt to chair for a few hours on a hot summer day.

Jack Bradley is an alienated, angry young man returning home whern his father dies. He hasn' spoken to the family in years, and they're no more happy to see him than he is to see them. His father's body was found near the titular Dreaming Pool, a childhood haunt where Jack had a particularly terrorizing experience. Of course, something is up with the death of Jack's dad, and as Jack familiarizes himself once again with his town and his heritage, he comes upson some pretty spectcaular weirdness.

What Greenwood does really well in this novella is to keep the narrative taut while quickly upping the ante. He brings in the Masons, Welsh mythology, a rather Lovecraftian feel and even finds time for a bit of typical horror novel romance. He does it so well that the reader will feel as if he's read what is typically a much longer novel. There's a wealth of interesting invention mixed with some serious research, and a wonderful 'small town with a secret' spin.

There is also some serious movie potential in this novella as well. With a story this fully rounded but so well controlled, it seems to cry out for an adaptation by the Welsh version of Wes Craven. Now this also works a bit against the novella, in that some will find the whole a bit too pat and comfortable. But there's no doubt that you'll finish and enjoy this book whether you want ot not. 'The Dreaming Pool' is a fantastic debut by a writer who is definitely planning on going places, and able to take the readers along for an enjoyable ride.