>The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman


  for those of you who read my blog, you’ll remember that Blood Crimes by Dave Zeltserman, was in my opinion a bloody good read.  So how will I take to this my second exposure to Zeltserman, have I got the Zeltserman bug?
Caretaker tells the tale of Jack Durkin, who along with the previous eight generations of Durkins have protected the world from the all consuming threat of the Aukowie, ravenous plant creature that will destroy the world within days.  That’s if Durkin doesn’t full fill his contractual duties, and Durkin takes these duties seriously oh so very seriously.  In previous generations the townsfolk took the Caretaker seriously, and paid him handsomely for his services.  However these days only a small handful of folk, still believe in his duties.  Life for Durkin has become a struggle, a struggle to get by on his pittance of pay, a struggle to be taken seriously, and a  struggle with his family.  His wife doesn’t take him seriously and is fed up with her peasants lifestyle, his two sons were born in the wrong order.  Only the eldest can become a Caretaker, but he refuses to follow his destiny.  Whereas the younger son would love to become the Caretaker, but the contract cannot be changed, it cannot be broken. 

Fed up with her life Durkin’s wife seeks a way to make money out of Lorne Field and the  Aukowie.  So she turns to the flash young lawyer Minter, who plans to make the Durkin’s, and himself  millions by turning The Aukowie into a Disney style amusement attraction.  That’ll go without hitch won’t it folks.  that’s all I’m going to reveal of the actual story.  As with most things it’s better if you find out for yourselves.  

The Caretaker, is one hell of a book, books like these don’t come out often.  Within the relatively short 235 pages, Zeltserman has weaved a tale that is moving, terrifying, funny and deep.  This is a very different novel than that of Blood Crimes, where Blood Crimes was a action based noir thriller Caretaker is a thoughtful slow builder, that piles on the tension page after page. 

The story is told from two narratives Durkin, and his wife.  Durkin fully believes that the Aukowie are real, he is completely and utterly dedicated to his job and the contract.  So much so that he wants some boys, who did nothing more than throw some tomatoes at him,  hanged in public.   He believes that as the contract states that anyone who interferes with the duties of a caretaker should be hung, that by doing this the kids violated the contract.  He even goes to the local sheriff to make him round up the boys.  
Durkin’s wife, who like most of the  towns folk doesn’t believe in Durkin’s job, and its through her parts of the novel that Zeltserman introduces  doubt into the existence of the Aukowie. Has Durkin just fooled himself into believing they are real, is his devotion to his job that strong? Or are they just a figment of Dirkin’s mind.  If you think I’m going to tell you the truth, then think again.

This book is being marketed as a horror book, which in my opinion is a misfortune, for this like The Thief of Broken Toys, transcends the horror genre.  There has been talk about what is literary horror.  I’ll tell you it’s this.  This book is dense with themes, how far will a man go to defend his beliefs?  How society treats those they no longer feel are useful.  Zeltserman handles these themes with the skill and deftness of an author at the top of his game.  This is a moving and haunting book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.  

Buy this book now, in fact buy two copies and give one to a friend, they’ll be indebted to you.  

Available from all the usual places around the world 


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