DARK SEEKER 1987 K.W. JETER
This is the first book by Jeter that i`ve read. In fact a few months ago i had never heard of him (this more to do more with my ignorance than his visibility). While working as an extra on some forgettable tv reconstruction drama, i wasted a bit of the endless downtime scavenging through the prop department`s location box, which had a few books in. I pulled out Dark Seeker, it had an intriguing cover (not the one below) and blurb, so i stole it. Looking up Jeter`s name online when i got home, i discovered that he was a protege of Philip K. Dick, and the man who coined the term "steampunk". Dark Seeker seems to be his first book in the horror genre. The main character is a depressive, heavily medicated guy who was once part of a pseudo-religious/science cult who were involved in some Manson-like murders. He and his former compatriots were all under the influence of The Host, an experimental hallucinogenic cooked-up by the military that allowed them to share the same experience across long distances, and inhabit an alternate reality. The Host seems to have permanantely altered some brain functions, so the current medication is to keep those feelings at bay. A dark figure from the past comes a-calling, and the struggle to escape the past is the basic premise of the book. Judging from the cover, and the conjoined SCANNERS/BLUE SUNSHINE-like premise, i expected a fast-paced, sci-fi tinged 80`s neon romp akin to a good Hypangogic Pop LP. What i didn`t expect was a very slowly-paced, genuinely dark and brooding story built on thoroughly repellent and poetic imagery that speaks of true horror, not fun "boo" stuff, but cold, stinking, lonely, filthy darkness and discomfort. That said, it doesn`t lead anywhere that interesting in the end, but does offer a culminative and genuinely surprising conclusion. I wouldn`t put it on anyone`s Must Read list, but it is an interesting and very well-crafted deviation for those seeking serious horror.