Author: Gregory Lamberson
Book: Black Creek
Published: March 2016
Publisher: Medallion Press
For decades, hundreds of families lived above a toxic waste dump in a place called Love Canal, New York. There were reports of birth defects, cancer, and deaths. In 1979, the United States government finally relocated over eight hundred families. However, not all the residents left. Some remained in their homes just outside the disaster area. Others went underground. They hid from the authorities. They breed. And they mutated.
Forty years after the evacuation, Love Canal has been restored. Renamed Black Creek, the people in the region remember the tragedy. However, they are unaware of the monsters living under Black Creek, descended from those who did not leave. When the worst storm in four decades isolates western New York, this forgotten tribe emerges to hunt and reclaim what was once theirs. They have also developed a taste for human flesh.
Gregory Lamberson’s story had a special appeal to me. I lived in western New York when I was working on my Ph.D. Though I didn’t often travel far past North Tonawanda, I recognized many of the places. Paul Goodman and his family have been living on Cayuga Island, a short way from Black Creek. In the opening chapters, people begin noticing strange things. Paul’s son, Evan has a friend who saw a strange, man-like creature in the woods. The boy begins displaying signs of post-traumatic stress. In February, three major storms converge on western New York. (I still remember lake effect snow.) Snow piles up fast and the monsters come out of hiding.
As the story progresses, the residents have to contend with mountains of snow, frozen pipes, power outages, and cannibalistic monsters. The book was hard to put down. The characters became more sympathetic as they faced adversity and would either rise or fall. While I wasn’t particularly scared, I did find the story suspenseful.