RUN TO GROUND by Jasper Bark (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Some authors leave you with a feeling that you have been reading their work forever. You become so comfortable with their words that you forget you are reading, and you fall into a kind of trance that leaves you with the feeling that you have always been reading their works. Jasper Bark is one of those authors.
I’ve read his STUCK ON YOU AND OTHER PRIME CUTS collection, and enjoyed it greatly, and his new novella, RUN TO GROUND is another twisted entry into the mind of this talented and slightly disturbed author. In this novella about a cemetery groundskeeper with mother issues who is chosen for something much greater, I felt the fingertips of Poe & Lovecraft teasing me as Jasper introduced the otherworldly horrors that lay beneath the graves of an ancient land.
Jasper introduces us to Jim, a groundskeeper who loves his mother and the graves he cares for in… non-traditional ways so to speak. Jim is weird and immature and his story will bounce around a bit. At first, I found myself feeling bad for this guy, but Jasper won’t allow that for long once he reveals Jim’s true motivation. The madness continues and escalates as the story unfolds and Jasper adds his flair for the gothicly grotesque that would make the above mentioned masters of horror blush from beyond their own graves as he madly chums the waters of hell’s vast oceans.
If this isn’t enough… The publishers were kind enough to include a short story that was part of Jasper’s STUCK ON YOU AND OTHER PRIME CUTS. “How The Dark Bleeds,” which I enjoyed the first time I read it and couldn’t resist reading it again, is a short and sweet descent into madness by way of monsters and mythology that still left me with a sense that I should never sit around a campfire and listen to Jasper’s stories. Not on a full stomach, anyway.
Read this book. Read every book you can find by Jasper Bark. It takes a special author to convey such grotesque and bloody fare while keeping his finger on the pulse of the story to drive it forward with tension and the kind of atmosphere that makes you wary of the shadows your reading light is casting. Jasper Bark – a word magician of the highest order; prepare to have your mind blown… (Cory Cline)