Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Bone Tree - Christopher Fulbright

I've known Christopher Fulbright for several years because he's a Robert E. Howard fan and fellow author. We've spent a considerable amount of time talking at Howard Days in Cross Plains and I've always enjoyed our conversations. His novella THE BONE TREE is the first thing I've read by him, but it certainly won't be the last.

THE BONE TREE falls into the rural horror category, if there is such a thing. It also features a couple of adolescents as its protagonists and it's set in the past, the late 1970s in this case, and in those respects, along with its rural setting, it reminds me of some of the work of Stephen King. Fulbright has his own voice, though, and it's an assured, engaging one.

The narrator Kevin and his best friend Bobby both live in the country between Waxahachie (been there) and Maypearl (haven't been there, but I know right where it is). Having grown up in north central Texas myself, I can say that Fulbright paints an absolutely accurate picture of life there for a couple of adolescent boys. I'm about twenty years older than Fulbright, but things hadn't changed that much from the late Fifties to the late Seventies.

Kevin is white and Bobby is black, a fact that plays into the plot to a certain extent but isn't really that important to them. They're much more concerned about the evil spectre that's stalking a younger friend of theirs. When that situation takes a tragic turn, they know they have to do something about it, even if it means venturing into danger themselves, because they don't want the same fate to befall their own families. But in true kid fashion, fighting cosmic evil has to wait its turn in a life of playing video games, reading comic books, and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Fulbright spins an excellent yarn that really rings true. It's fast-paced, genuinely creepy when it needs to be, and punctuated by moments of humor. THE BONE TREE is a fine blend of horror and mainstream fiction, and it gets a high recommendation from me.


Jack Badelaire said...

Bought it. I'm intrigued, and totally willing to support another Howard fan.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've read quite a bit of Chris's stuff but don't have this yet. I'll have to pick it up. He's definitely a fine writer, and his Howard fan credentials are impeccable. :)

Keith West said...

I really enjoyed this one when I reviewed it last fall, and I agree that he nailed the Texas setting perfectly. Like you, I hadn't read any of Chris's work, but I'll be reading more.

Chris said...

Just grabbed a copy myself. I was just thinking this week that I need to make it back to Texas. If travel doesn't make it happen, books always can!