Everyone had a favorite horror author. I have about four or five author’s who work I don’t even read the back of before buying their novels because I’ve grown to like their writing style or how they craft a story. I have a feeling that Matthew Lyons is going to be a new addition to this list. Matthew Lyons is what happens if you mix the growing pains of a Stephen King character, with the body horror of Clive Barker and the love of the unknown of H P Lovecraft and his debut novel ‘The Night Will Find Us’ is a strong indication of not only the raw talent Lyons has a writer, but as a taster of what could come in future novels.
They say never go into the woods at night…
School’s out for summer and that means one thing to Parker, Chloe, and their four friends: a well-deserved camping trip in the Pine Barrens, a million-acre forest deep in the heart of New Jersey. But when old grudges erupt, an argument escalates into the unthinkable, leaving one of them dead and the killer missing. As darkness descends and those left alive try to determine a course of action, the forest around them begins to change…
From the synopsis alone you get a really good idea of the horror that Matthew Lyons is selling in ‘The Night Will Find Us’ . However this is 100% a teen horror with a very adult bite. I’m in my thirties so, despite years of watching teen slashers and reading books with teen leads, I find I’m a lot grumpier now and have a lot less patience when the cast is mainly teenagers. However, in ‘The Night Will Find Us,‘ the reader is treated to believable, likable teenage characters … something quite rare in the genre.
From Parker who is lost and chasing his own ghosts, to his cousin Chloe who would happily sit on the top end of any final girl chart. The relationship and development between the cousins as the story progresses shows the depth of talent Matthew Lyon’s has at his command. This goes right the way down the list of teen characters who, on paper, fit all the tropes of the genre. There is a pretty girl, an athlete and a stoner but scratch the surface of any of them and you get characters with hopes and dreams. That not only you want to see come to fruition, but in many cases get cut short in some bloody and nightmarish ways. It’s exactly this kind of character development that can help carry you through the 336 page nightmare.
I would be remise to not mention that other character which plays a pivotal role in the story. The forest itself. The environment the teens find themselves stranded in is so vividly described that you can’t help but feel it’s a character in its own right. Matthew Lyon’s builds up some amazing tension using nature as the antagonist. I’m not ashamed to say I’ll be putting off any camping trips for the next few months.
Speaking of antagonist in ‘The Night Will Find Us‘ brings us to the crux of any good story. Does the villain stand up? The answer here is a very emphatic yes. While Matthew Lyons leans into a good bit of Clive Barker like body horror with his villain, it also wouldn’t be out of place in a H P Lovecraft story. I’ll avoid spoilers here as I feel the villain is a very strong aspect of the ‘The Night Will Find Us‘ and I’d hate to cloud anyone’s judgement before picking up the book.
I’m not going to be coy – not only would ‘The Night Will Find Us’ make a fantastic story for any horror fans bookshelf, I’m going to be counting the days until it gets picked up for a miniseries or movie deal. The whole text is ripe for adaptation and has the legs to run for a good eight episodes if given the TV treatment. These are characters that you want to see more of and I’d love to see some of the effects from the book on the screen.
Do yourself a favor – pick up the book, read and enjoy before recommending it to all your friend’s. Maybe just don’t read it in the woods on a camping trip.