By Robert J. Stava
The sleepy hollow of Wyvern Falls is an idealistic community for those who enjoy a life of serenity, peacefulness and simplicity. A coastal town with few populous and fewer complications, the residents may very well soon realize their tranquility is turned upside down when an ominous crate washes ashore one day. Inside a mastodon of a creature lurks hell-bent on unleashing death and destruction onto everything within its reach.
There’s nothing like receiving mail. I’m not speaking of Facebook status notifications or retweets or number of likes on Instagram. Of course I’m referring to good old fashioned manila clad, postage enclosed, adhesive sealed physical mail. Now call me a hopeless romantic, or a nostalgic, sentimental old fart but there’s something borderline mystifying about receiving actual mail. For this very reason I virtually leapt at the arrival of Nightmare From World’s End by Robert J. Stava from Severed Press as it arrived to my front door step. In a sea of PDF’s, Mobi’s and Kindle formatted books that are forwarded day in and day out for review, this was a most welcome treat of pages, binding and cover to sink my teeth into.
As an added bonus this reading endeavor marked the premier opportunity to not only read a Stava novel but also one issued from the awe inducing Severed Press publishing house. Those of you unfamiliar with their product, they tend to release predominantly creature features with an oceanic setting. Suffice to state I tore into these pages like a ravenous predator insatiable for blood.
Stava’s stylistic story telling prose is infectious from word one. I’m confident the readership will agree that embarking upon one of this author’s novels truly isn’t like reading. It’s more comparable to sitting down, comfortably and cozy and listening to an Uncle tell a most engaging tale. As a result the readers are instantly put at ease, inviting each of us further into the fray as the exposition unravels and the plot escalation forever heightens.
Perhaps one of the greatest draws to Nightmare From World’s End is the very fact it breaks the barrier from saturated subgenres we’re bludgeoned with time and again. The whole zombie thing has pretty much worn itself out. Demonic possession tales would have to be a close second in redundancy. It’s also very tough for a cynic to get charged up about yet another serial killer tale of a conflicted, torn figure from a broken home. I love the fact that Severed Press gravitates towards the classic era of creature features. There’s something most elusive about the unknown. Our collective subconscious and imaginations are put to the test. As an almost after thought we consider keeping the lights on at night and most definitely think carefully about taking a leisurely dip in a body of water we’re not so familiar with. Stava’s wordsmith wizardry resonates well beyond the final pages making this novel a certifiable classic that sticks for a vast demographic among any era.
The author’s applied knowledge of Native history is impressive to say the least. It’s also indicative the degree of research that most have been involved with the culture and of course the references pertaining to Guillamo Del Tesler and his wacky realm of the paranormal. The backdrop strengthens the authenticity of the story and the audience never really questions the plausibility of even such a far-fetched creation.
The tension between John Easton and Sarah at first may come across as a dash cliché or contrived. As their admiration for one another becomes known however even the most jaded of readers will attain that certain level of necessary endearment. Almost in spite of ourselves we’re lured further into their growing fondness and become invested into their rapport.
As for what lurks below the surface, rest assured terror fans, the kill scenes are grisly, inspiring and will strike terror into the hearts of readers from all walks of life. What is arguably most noteworthy about Stava’s style is his investment with the reader. Rather than bombarding his audience with over extravagant detail, we’re simply invited into filling in the blanks with our own subconscious fears. It’s quite often what we don’t read is as equally effective as the deadly precision in which each segue is set up to beckon the imagination.
There are a couple of additional editions of Wyvern Falls setting novels including By Summer’s Last Twilight and The Feast of Saint Anne. Nightmare From World’s End is a compelling stand-alone novel yet I’m sure readers that have become fond of this story will rejoice in opportunity to welcome some of their captivating characters in another story. I for one cannot wait to embark upon either of the aforementioned. As for now I’m more than content to nestle my signed copy of Nightmare neatly up on my bookshelf to return to once again; just probably not on cottage or beach getaway.