(written by Paul Tremblay)
The Caretaker of Lorne Field is an odd but brilliant little horror novel written by Dave Zeltserman who is best known as a gritty crime/noir author. Not that that matters, but I do think this book unfortunately flew under the radar of most horror fans (despite the plethora of good reviews, word of mouth, the American Library Assoc. short listing Caretaker as the best horror novel of 2010) because of his crime author label. Such is the sad state of publishing, but I digress.
In Caretaker, there be monsters….maybe.
It’s an allegorical story set in small town New England. Jack Durkin is the latest in a long line of Durkins with the gig of weeding, by hand, Lorne Field. If he doesn’t weed the field, the weeds grow into ravenous, bloodthirsty monsters (Aukowies) that would destroy all of humanity. Or the dude is just totally nuts, which is what 21st Century New Englanders think of him now, of course. Previous generations of Durkins were held in high esteem, paid very well, and were generally treated as the town hero/rock star. (It’s almost like Durkin is representin’ writers…but I digress again) But Jack, not so much. His family resents him, and the town wants to cut his meagre funding.
The allegory is broad enough to allow for multiple interpretations, always encouraging the reader to use her/his own imagination within the proceedings. The social satire is spot on. Dave takes this are-they-real/is-he-nuts twilight-zone set up, sprinkles in noir attitude, and plays the reader like a fiddle until the very last page. You can’t help but love this book.
Link: The Razor Thin Line Between Crime and Horror by Dave Zeltserman
The Caretaker of Lorne Field will be released in trade paperback, October 2011.