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Reach of the Claw

Author: Lawrence Crossett
Genre: Fantasy
Reviewed by Kevin Tipple

10290402It begins in the County Galway, Ireland, in 1755.

"Aye, he could smell Luchorpan. It was a fetid stench, and one that wouldn't die."(Page 7)

For Cullen Connor, the battle is almost lost before it begins. The Luchorpan, a creature whose claws bring infection and which feeds off of humans and anything else it can get, has attacked his nephew. Even now, the child is undergoing the hideous transformation from human to something else. Cullen's only hope is to go out and hunt down the Luchorphan that infected his nephew. Once dead, the nephew, according to legend, will recover. If he can't kill the Luchorpan, he will have to make sure his nephew dies so that another Luchorpan with its 100-year hibernation cycle is not loosed upon the countryside.

In Luther, Illinois, it is spring 2004 and a distant Connor family relative is on another hunt for the hideous creature. Ken Connor, a detective on leave from the NYPD is in the area searching for it. Like his distant relative, Ken can smell the Luchorpan and he knows it is somewhere in the area of the small community of Luther, Illinois. And thanks to some sort of mental link that he has with it from time to time, he knows the evil has set his sights on Brent Mathers, a ten-year-old boy. As strange things begin to happen and the Luchorpan does its thing, Ken must battle to save his own sanity, to be believed in an area where the townsfolk think he is nuts, and save one boy's life.

The twin storylines make up this enjoyable and often intense novel from Lawrence Crossett. While marketed as horror, after reading this book, I would disagree. It compares favorably to John Connolly's "Bad Men" in that the evil takes physical form. In both cases, the basic personality of a person is exploited by outside forces to do what those same forces desire. In both cases, the transformations of humans, along with the actual physical presence of the creature, exist and can be battled by using normal everyday weapons. Therefore, as this reader sees it, the "thriller" designation would be more appropriate.

Regardless of classification, this is an enjoyable and often intense novel. The author weaves the twin storylines and occasional new information seamlessly while developing the characters. The pacing works well as the focus shifts between the various characters in the twin storylines. At the same time, the work moves steadily forward and reader interest is held. The result is an intense, enjoyable read and one not easily forgotten.


October 28, 2004 in Fantasy | Permalink


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