Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: "A Man Came Out of the Door in the Mountain" by Adrianne Harun

Years ago, back when I was young enough to get a library card for the first time, one of the first books I ever checked out was a book called Evil in our Midst. It was a collection of stories and essays about certain demons from our nations folklore, mainly set around Native American beliefs. It has stuck with me for years, and is one of the scariest books I have ever read, with many accounts written in the book enough to make you think twice about looking into that dark room when you get out of bed at night. I bring this up because it was what I was excepting as I was reading the beginning of Adrianne Harun’s A Man Came Out of the Door in the Mountain. But alas, this book never makes good on it’s promises, and despite all its other qualities, that remains its greatest sin against itself. The story concerns a group of teenagers on the verge of a bleak adulthood in a small town in British Columbia. All are half or full Native American. There has been a rash of disappearances involving young girls near a dangerous highway. The kids are not affected by it until a duo of enigmatic strangers start influencing the group in ways that reflect some local legends about the devil taking human form. If it sounds interesting, it should be but it really goes nowhere, with one of the demonic duo having no more than a bit part in the story’s action. What this book gets right is its mood and the emotions of these kids as they stare into an uncertain future. The fear they experience is real, and the need to do something better with themselves is personified in the book’s two false profits. But the book really fails to deliver on many counts, with the legends told by one of the kid’s uncles even falling short on chills. In the end we are left with 3rd rate hillbilly violence that makes me wish I was reading Donald Ray Pollock or Frank Bill, and the book’s glaring flaws casting shadow over it’s positive points.

Rating: 3/5

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