Horror aficionado Lorne Dixon's new book, Blue Eel, explores this genre subset in a thrilling, psychedelic world.
Long suspected of guilt in his daughter's disappearance, Branson Turaco's life takes an abrupt turn when he learns that a lock of her hair has been found in a child predator's home. He buys an unlicensed handgun, enlists the help of a disgraced filmmaker and a desperate intern, and heads out onto the open road. Clinging to the faint hope that his daughter might still be alive, Branson follows a twisted path into an unknown world of terror within a post-human drug cult.
A notable voice in the horror genre, Dixon says the time is right for the progressive horror subset to expand and explore new avenues of storytelling.
"Horror has never been more popular," Dixon explains. "Soccer moms watch The Walking Dead, listen to Rob Zombie and buy tickets to see The Conjuring. The time is ripe for new voices, new ideas and new stories."
In this nail-biting thriller, Blue Eel explores:
· The impact of Absurdist media crime coverage, similar to the JonBenet Ramsey case: with so much rhetoric about the protagonists filling the public’s consciousness, could the truth ever really satisfy the audience?
· Moral relativity and situational ethics when the things that matter most are on the line.
· The changing relationship between storytellers and their readers, with a narrative that largely refuses to place value statements on the events described, leaving the readers responsible for their own interpretations.
GUEST POST by Lorne Dixon, Author of BLUE EEL
I grew up in a house with two televisions. The war between Beta and VHS was raging somewhere, just not in my home. We made due with the Big Three networks, PBS, and three hit-or-miss UHF channels. An equal distance between New York City and Philadelphia meant having two affiliates for each network. Still, not many options.
Downstairs, housed in a massive wooden cabinet, was the color set. The fifteen feet in front of the television commanded prime real estate value as far as entertainment went. Plenty of room to lounge during the day and watch game shows and reruns of ‘60s sit-coms.
Upstairs, less comfortable, on a cart, sat an older black-and-white set.
Neither had a remote control.
Every week the local newspaper published a television guide as an insert. A poor man’s TV GUIDE, maybe, but the listings were accurate and, most importantly, it was free. Each week I’d snatch it out of the paper, scurry to my room, and compile of a list of movies and shows I wanted to see. Primarily horror movies and episodes of Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, etc. The listings were segregated into white and gray zones, broadcast and cable. Cable television? Back then, about as real as a sea serpent living in Loch Ness. Too frustrating to read, I avoided the gray boxed listings like a germophobe in the unisex bathroom as CBGBs. Better off not seeing what I couldn’t watch.
Every once in a great while I could convince my parents to tune in to one of the movies on my list, but not too often. They had priorities. Baseball. M*A*S*H. Hostage Crises on the news. Blah, I wanted none of that. So, upstairs I went. I fell in love with horror movies on that small black-and-white screen. The Universal Monster classics. Val Lewton. The Fly.
And The Blob.
Thing is, I was in my twenties by the time I saw The Blob in color. Turner had already released his Frankenpainted (horribly colorized) version of Night of the Living Dead by then, so I just assumed that The Blob had suffered the same fate. The color looked good, but not right. To this day, whenever I watch Steven (that’s how he’s credited, deal.) McQueen fight that mean pile of goo, I turn down the color. It feels right in black-and-white.
A little later in my youth- sometime when Ronald Regan was President- ABC began broadcasting much more recent films as part of their Monday Night Movies. I discovered Jaws that way. NBC and CBS followed suit. Halloween. The Exorcist. Friday the 13th. Glory days. And all in glorious black-and-white.
Thing is, there was an added benefit to seeing the modern classics this way. I never truly realized just how old House of Dracula truly was, nor how new Hell Night. It didn’t matter. I loved them all, unconditionally.
If you will, turn down the color control with me for a bit. Maybe we can wash away a little of the cynicism of the smart phone age. Couldn’t hurt.
Lorne Dixon grew up on a diet of yellow-spined paperbacks, black-and-white monster movies, and the thunder-lizard back-beat of Rock-N-Roll. His new novel, Blue Eel, is available now from Cutting Block Books.
REVIEW: BLUE EEL by Lorne Dixon
I started this novel with the thought "Okay, where is this going to take me?" as I had been asked to review, and was not familiar with either the title or author. Oh my, I was in for quite the surprise! I had scarcely finished a couple of pages, when I knew Lorne Dixon is now one of my must-read authors; and even though I can't rapidly flip pages on a Kindle as I could in a print book, still the story seemed to fly at the speed of light, while I thought, "More! More! More! " "Where is the author going with this? What next?" and "What An imagination!!"
BLUE EEL defies genre classification. By turns and yet simultaneously, the novel is mystery, crime fiction, paranormal, contemporary sci-fi, otherworldly [just read the descriptions of the desert and its enclave], thriller, revenge plot, grief study, marital collapse (past and present, different marriages), police procedural, parental love (and grief), literary, poetic imagery... BLUE EEL is an enclosed universe of its own, neither joyful nor beautiful, but in Lorne Dixon's talent, it is a universe vivid, powerfully impacting, emotionally devastating, and beautiful in its conception. I must return to BLUE EEL again and again. I am a changed person for its reading, a better one I hope, and the horizon of my imagination, psychological understanding, and emotional range has been vastly expanded by BLUE EEL.