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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hellboy. The Ice Wolves. Dark Horse Books (2009)


A very well written supernatural thriller with an excellent central idea. Werewolves are suddenly appearing all over the globe and launching murderous attacks. Hellboy hears about an ancient artifact, the Kiss of Winter and the rise of the Black Sun. The wolves appear to be converging on Boston, which is in the grip of an unnatural winter storm. Hellboy heads for the Grant Mansion in Boston, with the son of the current owner and his friend in tow, to search for the Kiss of Winter. At the mansion they are besieged from the outside by werewolves and from within by the many ghosts and secrets contained in the house. The reveals are very well staged, the story unfolds with great imagination and energy and the conclusion is smart and satisfying.
Mark Chadbourn has written an excellent supernatural adventure story featuring Hellboy that is not a Hellboy story. Hellboy is presented with no back story or explanation, he clearly demonstrates that he is an experienced occult adventurer, there is no reliance on prior knowledge to understand his role in the story. The rest of the cast get the attention. William Lynch who owns the Grant Mansion, Brad his son and Lisa Mafrici Brad's companion all are given depth and time to reveal themselves. Each of them have significant events in their past that that have to confront and these confrontations are skillfully woven into the fabric of the story.
The Grant Mansion, with its tortured history, its horrible secrets and its mysterious inhabitants is a great character. It looms large in the story as it actively tries to preserve itself and its secrets from both the wolves on the outside and the people on the inside. The secret of the Black Sun itself is well thought out and substantial. This highly entertaining story is well worth reading.

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