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Anyone who has stood on the Moors as I have hears her song sawing away at his sanity. She is a sad and lonely creature, cutting through body and soul to the fears and temptations that plague us all. The veneer of civilization is very thin. For are we not all predators of one kind or another, vicious beasts fit for the gladiator’s ring, for the measured battleground of the football field, the mad frenzy of the grocery store on double coupon day or the Olympic trials of cutting and gouging one’s way to work among the trucks and cars on the freeway every morning?
Ralph, too, hears the Moor’s siren song. On one hand, he delights in the peace he finds in such a cold and lonely place. Ralph’s real life is rather boring and dull. He’s just one little cog in the slowly turning wheel of life within the tiny village. His marriage to Mo has certainly seen better days and his job holds no great challenge for him, either. Everyone in town seems to know everyone else’s business, too, from pretty Cathy, who hopes to win the affections of a visiting film producer, to the strange custodian, Charlie, who seems to have a prior claim to the Moor’s charms, wild man Maine, the sexually driven Fearn and even logical Salmon.
Although Ralph’s odd tendencies might have had their start in his youth, his retrieval of a deer struck by a passing car basically releases the angry genie from the bottle. Ralph finds that he enjoys the thrill of the kill and he yearns to kill again. This is the rush, the excitement he needs to survive. It swamps Ralph’s psyche, consuming him whole until there is nothing else left for him to live for. There, in a small cottage on the Moor, countless victims find not a haven of shelter, but a horrific and frightening end.
As the story builds to its climax, many will be felled by the beast within, that creature within all of us. Is the Beast of Bodmin Moor real or merely a topic for discussion in the sweet warmth of the local pub? Nay. Look in the mirror, my friends. Look hard, to the point where the black creature lurks inside you and the lonely wind claws into your mind.
Stuart G. Yates writes with a gripping style, drawing the reader into the mind of a madman in a terrifying whirlpool of blood and death. This is not a book for the faint of heart. I’ll admit to being able to read it only in daylight myself! The mark of a great author is one whose work lingers with the reader long after the last page is turned. Step aside Stephen King and make a little room. Stuart G. Yates is such an author.