The Painted Darkness
by Brian James Freeman
Cemetery Dance (2010)
Free is certainly in my price range. So when Cemetery Dance and Brian James Freeman announced that the e-book version of Freeman's novella, The Painted Darkness, was available as a free download a couple of months ago, I wasted little time in snagging a copy. In fact, I think it's still available as a free download if you're interested too. Just pay a visit to http://www.downloadthedarkness.com/.
With novellas in the horror genre, little time is wasted in ratcheting up tension and offering plenty of suspense. This book is no exception, thankfully. Chapters alternate focus between the protagonist's childhood and adult married life. Henry's childhood is marred by a traumatic event that gradually unfolds in the "Birth of the Artist" chapters, while the present day chapters show a new nightmare unfolding for Henry in his very own house.
Henry's a painter and has a rather trance-like method to his art, never really remembering how the images wind up on the canvas, only aware that he's the one wielding the brush and doing all he can to "paint against the darkness." Since the unpleasantness that befalls him in his childhood is handled to an extent by a nurtured gift for drawing.
I drew and doodled ceaselessly as a child, so connecting to this character was easy. Even so, Freeman does a remarkable job in establishing his characters quickly and setting the stage right off the bat. Though, it took a couple of chapters to really warm up, once I was into the story, I was all the way in. And the whole mystery behind Henry's childhood trauma and the secret behind what is occurring in the basement of his new home--and the demonic looking furnace he continuously must maintain.
I guess Freeman is an author with an affinity towards shorter fiction. That being the case, I think I'm going to need to seek out some more of his work, because he entertained me enough with this outing that I wouldn't be opposed to spending money for a story the next time around. But if I can get it for free--legally--I'll be more than happy to download it.