Brian Moreland’s debut novel, ‘Shadows In The Mist’, fell into my lap at just the right time. I had just gotten off of three other historical non-fiction works and so was inclined to both, get back into reading horror, my favorite genre, but stay in the historical realm which I had been dabbling in as of late.
It is apparent the attention that was given to the details in ‘Shadows’. Even the smallest measures were included which made for believable and gripping storytelling. But if Moreland can do one thing well in this book it is set up atmosphere. The majority of the book takes place deep within Germany’s Hürtgen Forest with the main cast being a group of World War II soldiers out to perform one last mission. Throughout the book I found it very easy to picture exactly what he was trying to get across which, in my experience, has never been easy to do when it comes to war time storytelling. There are typically too many simultaneous stories going on to be able to do it all justice in print, but Moreland pulls it off without a hitch.
And what is the mission? To stop an operation that is creating an army of unstoppable soldiers that could win the war for Hitler if they were set loose. Or rather, that was the mission. As the book begins, you find that it is modern day and that one of the only surviving soldiers from that fateful mission is ready to bring the actual story of what happened to the world and to finally honor his fallen comrades. But the story could bring back the same havoc it ended if told to the wrong people and there are some who will fight to keep it a secret.
Roughly ninety percent of the novel is in fact the storytelling of what took place during the war and this is a good thing as that is by far the best part of the book. Once it starts it is non-stop action until the end and it kept me turning pages much longer than usual. The remaining portion is just too short to give it any real appreciation. It is just long enough to give you all the necessary information to make the rest of the story complete, which it does well enough.
On the surface this might not sound like a horror novel and for a good portion of the book I thought the same. However you soon find out that the unstoppable soldiers being created are part of Hitler’s notorious occult dealings and are not your typical human soldier. They are big, fast, grey, use sabers to fight, and hide in shadows. Fortunately, for those of us who are way past their vampire overload setting, they are not vampires, and I’ll just leave it at that.
Having never heard of Brian prior to getting the chance to read this novel, I can say I will definitely be watching any further books by him with interest. It was a relatively quick read (301 pages), had some great underdog main characters, a good historical aspect, and enough supernatural and gore to please the majority of horror fans.
Book Review: Shadows In The Mist – Author Brian Moreland