(she) snarled and slapped the Texan across the face. “You have no idea what true evil is, Mister Howard, but I assure you, tonight you will. Unfortunately you will not have very much time afterward to contemplate your discovery. Not very much time at all.”
The Harker Legacy is the newest offering from accomplished writer Teel James Glenn. Glenn’s award winning work spreads across a variety of genres and has been featured in numerous magazines, books and anthologies. Fans of classic horror will love this one; it has the feel of an old time radio horror show and Glenn fits a great story inoto the novella length. A brief prologue gives us a taste of things to come: It seemed that it was not the God but the Devil that answered her prayer for the metal of the gate rattled open and a dark shape moved out of the shadows toward her.
The story opens with a great fish out of water scene. Robert Howard, a tried and true Texan, walks into a British pub with a typewriter by his side and a pistol in his waist. This is your typical Brit pub, full of warm ale and surly patrons that cast a suspicious eye towards the “Yank.” Robert “call me Bob” Howard meets a friendly stranger by the name of William Pratt, a Brit who has spent some time in the US working as an actor under the stage name of Boris. The names of these characters might sound familiar to you horror aficionados…
Bob and Pratt’s friendship is sealed after finding themselves outnumbered in alleyway brawl. The fight leaves Pratt injured and unable to get back to his job as a hired hand on fox hunts for the Harkers, an aristocratic family. Howard puts his cowboy skills to use and steps in for Pratt, hopping on a horse to help with the fox hunts. Howard’s skilled riding impresses the Harkers, particularly Gwendolyn, the friendly Harker daughter. Gwendolyn takes a liking to Bob, much to the dismay of her snobby brother Quentin. A heroic act of Bob’s leads The Harkers to invite Bob to an evening gather, where he is treated more as a novelty than a guest. The Harkers stuffy nobility stands out in contrast to the Texan’s good ol’ boy ways, creating a subtle tension. Something is not right with The Harkers, and it isn’t just their bourgeois attitudes. I will leave the rest of the story to the reader; it is a creepy treat.
Glenn is a skilled writer and has crafted a fast paced and entertaining story in the often challenging novella format. Novellas are hit and miss; some writers try to pack too much in and others not enough. The Harker Legacy is a satisfying read that fits snugly into its sixty three pages. Glenn’s characters are engaging and well defined. The dialogue changes deftly between characters; The Texan drawls with pulpy fun: “Looks like I got me some suitors come-a-courtin…Well I got me some party favors for them if they want to have a hoedown.” In contrast, the Harkers bring the rigid properness common to their like: “You are a near penniless vagabond, a writer of low, penny dreadful trash and not even suitable to be seen with at all let alone as a companion.”
If I have one complaint about The Harker Legacy is that it left me wanting more—I suppose that is more of a compliment that a criticism. I would enjoy seeing this story extended into a full length novel. The story feels a little bit rushed, perhaps do its length. I tore through it one sitting and re-read it a few hours later. I recommend this one to all horror fans, particularly those who enjoy a classic, old school horror story. The e-book and print versions are available on Amazon. The print version has a great cover reminiscent of the old school pulp paperbacks.
The Harker Legacy is published by Anachron Press of the UK. Find out more about Teel James Gleen on his website www.theurbanswashbuckler.com
Book Review: The Harker Legacy – Author Teel James Glenn