Category Archives: Del Rey Spectra

Frightful Friday: Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp

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Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week.

This week’s featured book is Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp:

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (September 25, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0345533933
  • Source: Publisher (via Edelweiss)

“Through bad glass it all gets tainted…”

Spokane has been evacuated by the military. Some residents remain, their whereabouts and condition unknown. Quarantined by the military, no one gets in. Rumors of improbably and unexplainable incidents escape the quarantine, spreading like wildfire to the surrounding area. The news isn’t reporting anything, the government hasn’t released a statement. It’s almost as if they are attempting to ignore what is happening inside the city limits: strange creatures that can’t possibly exist, human beings melded with inanimate objects, somehow still alive.

Dean Walker is an aspiring photographer desperate to get inside the quarantine zone. He wants to provide photographic evidence of what is transpiring in Spokane, admittedly, to attain fame as the only photographer to cross the quarantine line. It doesn’t take long for Dean to experience for himself the unimaginable terror unleashed, seemingly by the city itself. He unites with a band of survivors desperate to find the cause of this chaos.

Around them, the city of Spokane is alive (almost literally), a character unto itself. It strikes out against those who walk and breathe inside it, as if the planet, nature itself, is seeking vengeance for centuries of damage and abuse. What Dean and the survivors discover may potentially be the cause of the chaos is a psychological, and ultimately philosophical, nightmare.

It’s hard to categorize a book of this magnitude. Precautionary apocalyptic fantasy/horror? Whatever you want to label it as, this novel is truly mind-blowing. Each chapter begins with a written description of a photograph, an image that serves as proof of the twisted reality existing within the Spokane city lines. Gropp’s skilled prose plays with the readers’ mind, similar to effect the city of Spokane has on its inhabitants. Not overly graphic or gory, instead Gropp uses the mental images, the writing itself to illicit terror in his readers.

I’ve tried to sum up this novel without giving too much of the plot away, finding it hard to describe a book that still has my mind reeling. If you are looking for dark apocalyptic tale with a tinge of horror, guaranteed to play tricks on your mind, then this is the novel for you. Highly recommended.