Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Fourth Fog by Chris Daniels

Taking on a novel where one has zero preconceived notions can be liberating. Almost no information about the author exists online ... and there is relatively no news about said book. One of the reasons I do this is to discover works like The Fourth Fog ... a book unique in the genre.

Newlyweds Ben and Tula have moved into area ‘C’ and a new apartment complex. Ben is a book editor surrounded by a mish-mash of unlikable individuals. Tula works as a nurse ... but their home is far from the welcoming sanctuary they envisioned. Soon, an infestation of flies take root as something in the ceiling perishes. Yet the flies appear to be something far more sinister than the common house fly: they have purpose and intent – a malign, elusive quality. Not only that, but Ben has become increasingly dependent on a popular drug called HAL. But are these things the sole cause of Ben's small but meaningful signs of increasing paranoia?

To call this novel ‘bleak’ is an understatement. But I have an inclination this is exactly what the author intended. Beginning with a mere domestic setting, there is a slow build-up of palpable dread, enhanced by Ben’s slow downward spiral into confusion and melancholy. It reaches boiling point when supernatural elements – never overtly defined – are inserted into the mix with gross management but ultimately superior handling. Although the backdrop and plot are pertinent, the whole bizarre thing seems to be a vehicle for the author’s unique prose and depressing (yet droll) social commentary.

With a tag line consisting of: A Horror Novel for the Ages staring God, Terror and (you guessed it)! KILLER FLIES ... The Fourth Fog is more than recommended for those seeking something distinctive and different.