Darkness by John Saul
from the back of the book:
Villejeune, Florida. A secluded little town at the edge of a vast, eerie swamp. Far from prying eyes. Far from the laws of civilization. Here folks live by their own rules -- dark rites of alters and infants, candles and blood.
Years ago the Andersons left town with a dream. Now they are back. To live out a nightmare. Something has been waiting for them. Something unspeakably evil. It feeds on the young and the innocent. And soon it will draw their teenage daughter into its unholy embrace...
I think this was supposed to be scarier than it was. It had potential to be scary with The Dark Man and his family of zombie children, the spooky swamp and its inscrutable inhabitants, and the obvious terror of the characters but somehow it just didn’t hit me. There were parts that were really creepy, especially toward the end, but I wouldn’t say scary. At times it sort of slipped toward corny and that made it lose some of its horror bite. I was also waiting for all the pieces to fall into place and I don’t think they ever really did. I understand there being mystery and magic around the events and I don’t need to know how all the stuff happened. But I do think there are some things that need some explaining so they make sense within the context of the book. One of the main characters is just sort of plopped into this story. She is integral to the plot but where she came from, her connection to everything else, and the motivations for her actions are never explained. It felt like you were coming at the story from two angles but they never quite met in the middle. It was a fast read and there were some interesting ideas and scenes and could be kind of fun in a light, not-too-much-thinking sort of way but this book, my first John Saul, did not leave me in a hurry to read any more.