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When Darkness Falls: Tales of San Antonio Ghosts and Hauntings Paperback – June 1, 1997
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From the Back Cover
San Antonio is such an interesting and fascinating place to live, it seems a lot of folks just don't want to leave when it's their time to go: so, those Spirits of San Antonio just keep on returning--most often "When Darkness Falls". Once again, well-known ghost story writer Docia Williams brings us a new book about recent ghost sightings and mysterious happenings in the Alamo City. A chilling book for those wanting a guide to places where spirits are known to rendezvous or for those who just like a good ghost story.
Top customer reviews
The appearance of the dogs coincides with the arrival of a new teacher at Charlie's school, the beautiful Miss Barbara Nielsen. Charlie is drawn to Miss Nielsen, is it lust or something else? As the school bullies get picked off one-by-one in gruesome, tightly-written detail, Nell becomes suspicious about the captivating Miss Nielson. Is Nell jealous of Charlie's interest in another woman, or is there a basis for the weird vibe she claims to get from the gorgeous teacher? Through the effective use of multiple points of view, the reader is allowed illuminating glimpses into the characters' heads, but still the suspense slowly builds, as does the pile of dismembered bodies.
Violence and sexual energy drive When Darkness Falls. The dog attacks are described with full flesh-tearing force while the all-consuming sex drives of the school kids are lasciviously explored. The themes of horror mysticism - premonition dreams, hellhounds, Satanic cults - never overwhelm the coming of age story at its heart, and the authentic depiction of what it is to be a teenager. This novel has an honest approach to adolescence, and the violence and sexual urges that come with it. As the tension mounts, the sexual tension heightens - the two elements matching each other and barrelling toward the climax.
There is a terrific level of detail in the characters' daily life and Sidney Williams is clearly drawing heavily (and effectively) from an 80s childhood. This focus on the minutiae of teenage life ups the fear factor: John Teesman (threw volleyballs at Charlie's head) unlacing his shoe to ease his sprained ankle, looks up to see dogs approaching ... Lewis Laborde (whipped Charlie with a belt) waiting to hook up with his girlfriend in the pavilion of the town park, sees the slavering dogs, tries to climb the pavilion ... The strong action scenes evoke dread, fear and a gruesome satisfaction. When Charlie's mother is attacked, the stakes get even higher.
Particularly in the first half of the book, building the tension is taken too far, becoming repetition and over-emphasis, dulling the pace somewhat. As Nell says, `Sometimes I restate the obvious for effect.' A little more editing and tightening would have made for a slightly better story and eliminated some typos. But the energy and well-developed concept make up for lapses into cliché or pedestrian writing.
When Darkness Falls surges forward, powered by male adolescent sexuality, gory violence, a superb horror concept and engaging characters. It wasn't too hard to guess the twist, but I the accelerating pace was rolling along and I didn't care. And I did not expect the ending. The last few paragraphs left me wondering, which I think is a good thing. When Darkness Falls is a fun read with some depth, using the horror genre to highlight timeless adolescent issues.
Recommended for 14 and up - especially boys.
I also dislike the way the author wasted space by telling us the trail she followed to get to her source. "First I called so-and-so but he didn't know anything and told me to call so-and-so who didn't know anything either but he told me to call so-and-so.... etc" I don't care how many people you had to call to get your story as long as you tell me who you finally ended up talking to. Part of being a reporter means calling lots of people but you don't include everyone you called along the way.
One more thing I disliked was her frequent mention of her first book. I don't like being told to go buy another book if I want a full story. Either give me the whole story or don't mention it at all.