Full disclosure – I was provided a copy of this book by the author; however, I have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.
A Brutal Coming of Age Story
Morgan Fischer just wants out of Colby, Pennsylvania. For him, living in the once prosperous community that his family practically built means nothing but painful memories. After his mother’s death and his father’s spiral into alcoholism, Morgan is basically an orphan; struggling to raise himself while his father drinks into oblivion. When a new couple moves into the house his grandparent’s built, Morgan is strangely drawn to the easy-going siblings. What started out as a business arrangement quickly morphs into a familial bond and fills a void Morgan desperately lacks. But Jonathan and Ava Astor are harboring a secret that, if discovered, will irreversibly change Morgan for better or worse. As their relationship grows, Morgan finds himself thrust into a world straight out of his wildest nightmares and used as a pawn in a brutal game of domination. Finding himself alone and far away from Colby, Morgan’s only thought is to survive and return to the place he once sought so desperately to escape.
Darkness on the Horizon is the debut novel from author Christopher Renna and follows main character Morgan Fischer as he transitions from naïve boy to man, but this is a coming of age story like no other. Renna has crafted a fast-paced, easy to read thriller that sucked me in and had me on the edge of my seat. Renna’s writing style is effortless and the story flowed naturally to the point where I didn’t feel like I was reading a book but watching the action unfold. When an author can transform the pages of a book or screen of an e-reader into a vivid depiction in the mind’s eye of the reader – that is something special. Renna’s choice of Ava and Jonathan’s last name being Astor hinted at their lineage and made me curious to know even more of their backstory than what was provided. While the story flowed easily, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of comfort. The subject matter and some imagery portrayed specifically in the latter half of the book had me reading through my fingers as I cringed at the total brutality that Morgan was forced to endure at the hands of his tormentors.
While Darkness on the Horizon is a story with vampires at the center, Renna has taken a genre with hundreds of years of source material and crafted a story that is not only well written but fresh. While some of the old tried and true vampiric legends are present, others are not and for me, that’s what really made this story a good one. Who wants to read about the same biases and conceptions? At the close of Darkness on the Horizon, I am left with so many questions about Morgan, his future and the future of those around him. I’m glad to see that Morgan’s story will continue in “Before the Sun Rises” and am looking forward to seeing what else is in store for Morgan either back in sleepy Colby, Pennsylvania or beyond.