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Concept vs. Execution
on September 9, 2012
In his afterword, Henkel explains that he is open to reviews and criticism of all kinds, and so I am going to trust him on that.
I am a huge fan of horror stories, and have written and published a modest number of them myself. As such, I can't but respect what Henkel is trying to create here and that leaves me wishing all the more that the execution of this first installment in the Jason Dark series were a bit more refined.
Demon's Night is very effective in places, and at its most consistent is enjoyably quirky and camp. However, Henkel's writing does seem to suffer from verbosity - many sections are bogged down by unnecessary details about less-than-pertinent information while other, more pressing passages that need such description will instead include a deus ex machina of sorts. For instance, the narrator is quite satisfied to spend two pages describing Siu Lin's martial-arts poses in the heat of battle. Yet though she has only the hint of a Chinese accent when Dark first meets her, she later exhibits only tentative command of the English language, with no explanation as to the shift.
Add to this a steady flow of adverbs (which students of Stephen King will recoil at, perhaps to our shame on occasion), and I believe I can give the reasons why this 25,000 word project took me the better part of a week to read rather than the majority of an afternoon. While the language is simple enough, there is far too much of it in some places, and this can make the story difficult to navigate.
I will end by forgiving the rather anticlimactic ending, as this series does continue and so leaves itself open for those unanswered questions to be resolved. I do have high hopes for the future of Jason Dark, as the writing becomes more refined and mature. So, mostly, I leave this review here to prepare those who are sticklers for language - my hope is that you see this project for what it is, a worthy endeavor by a man who clearly loves what he does, and not too-soon write it off for the shortcomings that do arise.
And, should the author see this, I hope I've offered suggestions for improvement while also making it very clear that I wish him the best and am looking forward to his continued success.