NOTE: David Lee Summers, author of this book, is a blogging and Facebook friend of mine. This said, the following review is an objective one, warts and all.
David has, as always, packed an awful lot of ideas, information and tropes in his horror novel The Astronomer’s Crypt. Love it!
The basic premise revolves around the trope of stolen Native American artifact with supernatural qualities and the havoc that ensues. OK, you say, seen it before. But no you have not. At least not the way David tells it.
Firstly, the geek in me really enjoyed the setting: an Observatory. David is an astronomer and really knows his craft. His descriptions of the Observatory and how it operates are fascinating. I found myself constantly referring to online articles to find out more about observatories simply because his description was so interesting. Most of his characters are in some way associated with the observatory and so we also get to see a hero outside of the normal stereotypes.
Next there was the mix of supernatural concepts involved. So you have the aforementioned Native Indian artifact and with it a creature from Native American legend. But juxtaposed into this you have not just one but two traditional Anglo-American-style ghosts. I enjoyed this. So many authors seem reluctant to mix cultural tropes. David does this a lot (my favorite book of his is “Dragon’s Fall Rise Of The Scarlet Order” and he intertwines this brilliantly). I would also like to comment that David treats the Native American mythology and characters with absolute respect and I think that adds to the gravitas of the story.
The characters themselves are a mix. We have a sensible leader type, a self-doubting intellectual, a shady drunk, some college kids, a dirty-minded type, a villainous stranger, some murderous drug traffickers, and some smart wives. For me the most interesting character was the protagonist Mike Teter who struggles as much internally as he does with the events around him.
As stated, the setting is an observatory in New Mexico. I think that David is doing for New Mexico what Stephen King did for the New England region of the US. Through his books I am certainly getting familiar with it which is good, because as an Australian I really do not know too much about New Mexico.
One aside, it does contain some sexual content. So maybe not good for children.
Anyway, its fast and furious and very entertaining, go get yourself a copy of the book. The Kindle version is very affordable at the moment.