Pros: Great good guys-under-siege monster story
Cons: I want just a little more this time
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Ike Hamill’s novella Until Dawn is a sequel to his Until the Sun Goes Down [review], which is one of my favorite Hamill stories. In that tale, a man is stalked by mysterious monsters until he’s infected and starts to become like them. Before he’s taken too far under, he lets his neighbor Amber know how to kill him, and she does. Now Amber is attending Jennifer and Aaron’s wedding at a hotel in Maine. She has almost convinced herself that the previous events never really happened, but she still habitually carries sharpened stakes and flashlights with her everywhere, as well as seeds she can toss on the floor to force the creatures to stop and collect them. It turns out to be a very good thing indeed that she does so. On their way home from the wedding, Riley and Nick stop at a railroad crossing, and Riley is lured away into an attack. Nick goes back for help, and Amber goes back with him and deputy Ricky to find Riley. He’s injured, and they take him to the hospital, then return to the hotel where things are starting to get scary.
If you’ve read a lot of Hamill books, you’ll find some interesting Easter eggs here. Deputy Ricky is from Hamill book Accidental Evil [review], so he has history with things that go bump in the night. Couple Liz and Alan are from Migrators [review], and thus are at least open to the idea that there are strange things that exist in this world. This story shares that aspect with its prequel: the main characters don’t waste time insisting that the supernatural doesn’t exist.
Until the Sun Goes Down was a slow, spiraling tale of one man’s horror. Until Dawn is an ensemble tale of good guys under siege in a large and complex building. They’re two different types of horror, but each one is quite enjoyable.
There are some speculations by the main characters about what’s going on with the “vampires”/lizards/whatever-they-are. Why hasn’t this infection wiped out extensive portions of the population if it’s so virulent and unstoppable? Why have they suddenly attacked en masse now? Is this something new in the world? I have to admit, I would have liked even a little more of a hint about where this was going.
This is a fun series, and I definitely recommend it.