Bram Stoker Award-winning author and editor Michael Knost’s new novel, Return of the Mothman, is in some ways a classic monster story, drawing on the Mothman legend, but in other ways, it is something different, a small-town, character-driven horror story reminiscent of early Stephen King. When Ted Browning receives a phone call that his grandmother is dying, he rushes back to Logan, West Virginia, a town he’d fled after the death of his best friend. Once there, he rekindles a lost connection with his dying grandmother, his cousin, and his first love, but as old bonds become new, old nightmares resurface, old tensions rise, and legends become truth. Drawing on local stories and a past he’d rather forget, Ted uncovers the Mothman’s purpose and plan, but can he find a way to stop it and save those he loves before it’s too late?
Knost’s story moves quickly, and in some ways that’s its weakness. It moves too quickly. There isn’t as much time spent developing relationships and connections and memories as this reviewer would have liked. On the other hand, the frantic pace mirrors the action in the story and the tension never lets up, creating a brisk and breath-stealing read that will keep readers turning the pages until the very end. What Knost does exceptionally well—as horror legend Tom Monteleone points out in the book’s introduction—is create and use place. His portrayal of Logan is so strong that the town becomes a character, one the reader cares about as much as any other. In this way, the novel is reminiscent of Charles L. Grant’s Oxford Station books and Stephen King’s Castle Rock novels and stories. It’s that good.
If you’re looking for a page-turner with a little heart and a big helping of scares, this is the book for you. Check it out.
Return of the Mothman by Michael Knost, 978-0-9912301-0-5
Release Date: January 15, 2014 (Woodland Press)