BOOK | FICTION | HORROR
BY MICHAEL MCDOWELL
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
As they used to say back in my navy days regarding the structure of military correspondence: always put the bottom line first…
So, in harking back to days long past, I’ll (kind of) begin this non-military correspondence with the proverbial bottom line…
BOTTOM LINE >> THE ELEMENTALS just may be my favorite horror novel of all time.
I’m not ready yet to call McDowell’s wonderfully written Southern Gothic horror the favorite because there are a few other wonderfully written horror novels that are also in the running, one or two of which I hope to review in rapid fashion here one of these days.
But what puts THE ELEMENTALS in the running for being the best of the best is, not so much that it is scary — when you’re as old as I am and have been through as much BS as I’ve been through, you’ll find that words on a page, regardless how well written and who writes them, no longer have the ability to scare… and that’s unfortunate — but that it is powerfully descriptive.
I was overwhelmed with its haunting descriptions so completely and cast within its magical spell of verisimilitude so deeply, that it really seemed as if I could feel the oppressive Alabama Gulf Coast heat, or as if the constant glare off the steaming hot white sand was really blinding my eyes, or as if the aged Victorian beach houses were really being overcome by the creeping and creepy dunes… all of which stayed with me long after I finished reading the masterpiece.
Man*, I really, REALLY, love books that do me like that…
I only wish it would happen more often.