First published back in May of 2013, ‘Community’ followed on from a long line of well-received and highly revered titles from veteran British horror author Graham Masterton.

DLS Synopsis:
Thirty-one-year-old Michael Spencer and his fiancée Natasha Kerwin had been driving back from visiting Natasha’s sister in San Francisco when their car was rammed off the otherwise deserted interstate by an unknown pick-up.  As their car comes crashing to a halt, the last thing Michael sees through the scattered windscreen is the pick-up’s blinding full-beams before the whole world around him goes black.

Almost three months later, Michael wakes up in a bright white room with no memory of what has happened to him.  Furthermore, he seems to have no memory of who he is or anything at all from his past.  Trying to put Michael at ease, Doctor Catherine Connor tells him that for the last few months he has been cared for by her and her colleagues at the Trinity-Shasta Clinic located at the foot of Mount Shasta.

Michael is informed that he suffered from a dislocated vertebrae following a car crash which resulted in his amnesia.  As such, he requires highly specialised amnesia therapy in order to have a chance of full recovery.  After insisting that he be told, he is informed that his name is Gregory John Merrick.  A name that sparks no memories in him.  A name that feels empty.

As his body is now firmly on the road to recovery, Michael is told he is to share a house with on the Trinity’s fellow residents – Isobel Weston.  However he will need to stay on site, so that he can continue to receive regular health checks and undergo his post-traumatic amnesia therapy.

But there are so many things that don’t quite sit right with Michael.  So many things that seem wrong with Trinity.  As the days pass by, and even though he still has no memory of his life prior to the car crash, more and more things begin to concern him with Trinity and its community.

A relationship, mostly consolidated through sex, is beginning to develop between him and his designated companion - Isobel.  Even when his supposed sister, Sue, visits from Seattle, no memory of her or their upbringing comes back.  And the residents of Trinity seem far from normal.  After their therapy has concluded, why would they all stay in the isolated confines of Trinity?  Why would they cut themselves off from the rest of the world like this?  Any why don’t they leave footprints in the snow?  He can’t shake the feeling that there’s something very wrong with Trinity’s community.  But for the foreseeable future, Michael is stuck there…

DLS Review:
Graham Masterton has been dubbed the ‘master of modern horror’ for good reason.  He knows how to tell a tale that will grab you by the balls and nine-times-out-of-ten scare you shitless.  He’s been doing it for years.  He knows the game well.  And in some ways, he’s pretty much perfected the art.

With ‘Community’ you’ve got a story that deals with as much mystery as it does the chilling supernatural undertone that it permeates.  Following the heart-in-mouth intensity of the initial car crash, Masterton slips his tale into a much lower gear; taking the storyline along a route that’s awash with agonising mystery.

From the very moment that Michael wakes up in Trinity, nothing seems to sit right.  The biggest hint towards this is undoubtedly with the standout lie that is told to him regarding his name.  Interesting, Masterton doesn’t try to hide any of this from the reader.  In fact, he actively embraces the commencement of the deception; continuing to refer to the character as Michael in every aspect other than through dialogue.  As such, we’re constantly on our guard with everything that is said to Michael (aka Greg) from here on in.  And although this decision may at first seem unconventional, it actually works incredibly well with the gradual build-up of the overall mystery.

Michael himself is a very easy character to identify with.  Even after the massive trauma he suffered, he’s clearly got his head screwed on.  He questions everything, and he’s not afraid to stand up against authority when the time’s right.  Furthermore, the general characterisation throughout the novel is pretty darn top-notch.  Michael’s designated ‘companion’ Isobel is the sort of woman that most men’s fantasies are made of.  In fact, Masterton doesn’t hang around before he gets underway with some steamy scenes of bedroom shenanigans.  And as an author who’s more than dipped his toe into erotic horror in the past, Masterton really knows how to get the blood pumping when things begin to get somewhat risqué.

If you were expecting an all-out horror with ‘Community’ then you may be slightly disappointed.  This is certainly not a horror with bloodshed and beasties and things designed to inspire instant terror in you.  Instead Masterton has deployed a more subtle chill-factor that gradually seeps under your skin and sets you ill at ease.  Okay, so there are quite a few aspects that are incredibly predictable.  From early on in to your introduction to Trinity and its community, you’ll have guessed one of the glaring twists.  After all, we’ve all either read a book with this particular twist in it, or seen a certain film (I shan’t give it away just in case anyone doesn’t see it coming).  But Masterton clearly knows that most people will have guessed this twist is coming, so quite purposefully doesn’t put too much weight on its revelation.  And as such, the overall storyline and the impact in finally uncovering the truth don’t really suffer from the predictability of certain elements.

Ultimately this is a story that simply draws you into the mystery that shrouds the whole thing and keeps you gripped to the tale with superb pacing, excellent characterisation and the delivery of a master storyteller.  Yeah you won’t exactly have any sleepless night from reading ‘Community’, but it’ll keep you thoroughly gripped to each one of the pages nevertheless.

The novel runs for a total of 233 pages.

© DLS Reviews

Make a free website with Yola