Cold Moon Over Babylon by Michael McDowell

Cold Moon Over Babylon, Michael McDowell, 1980

My favorite quote: “Two cars had passed in the last ten minutes: the fishing hearse and the car from Alabama. Why didn’t someone else come along? How could that happen within sight of her own house?” 

Notable characters: Margaret Larkin, a fourteen-year-old girl; Jerry, her brother; Evelyn, their grandmother; Nathan Redfield, the banker’s son; James Redfield, Nathan’s father; Ted Hale, the sheriff; Belinda Hale, his daughter; Warren Perry, a suspect

Most memorable scene: Cold Moon Over Babylon, like all of Michael McDowell’s work, is pretty much exploding with moments you’ll never forget. I can remember so much about this book (and again, all of Michael McDowell’s work has this effect on me) but the first time the man in the zippered leather mask appears is easily the one that sticks with me the most. I’ll always remember his hairy chest looking like a sweater *shudders* 

Greatest strengths: Cold Moon Over Babylon is a seamless blend of drama, horror, Southern gothic, ghost story, and murder mystery, creating a compelling concoction that pretty much transcends genre. We may not know what to call it, but we love Michael McDowell’s work — and I, for one, am glad he never follows the formula. I’m not a big fan of the formula. The formula is forgettable. Michael McDowell (and Cold Moon Over Babylon) is not

Standout achievements: I love “evil in a small town” themes, and no one does it better than Michael McDowell. Cole Moon Over Babylon exemplifies his talent for hometown horror to the maximum

Fun Facts: in his non-fiction book, Danse Macabre, Stephen King recommended Cold Moon Over Babylon. He recommends a lot of stuff these days and we all know it’s mostly just jibber-jabber and lip service at this point, but in this case, he’s right

Other media: The 2016 film titled Cold Moon starring Josh Stewart and Christopher Lloyd is an adaptation of Michael McDowell’s Cold Moon Over Babylon — though I have to admit, I didn’t really love it 

What it taught me: Pacing, pacing, pacing. And more about blueberries than I’ll probably ever need to know. I’m not complaining — it was interesting. Of course, Michael McDowell could make a grocery list interesting

How it inspired me: Everything Michael McDowell does inspires me in some way, and I can say the same for my collaborator, Tamara Thorne. We’re both big fans and are frequently inspired by him when writing our own tales. Cold Moon Over Babylon is a favorite for both of us. There’s something both comfy and cold here. And spooky as hell … 

Additional thoughts: Cold Moon Over Babylon reminded me a little of Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart in that I often found myself wondering if the ghosts were real … or a figment of the killer’s guilty imagination. I don’t know (or really care) if they were real or not in Michael McDowell’s mind, but I love the fact that there’s a little room for personal interpretation there  

Haunt me:

Read Cold Moon Over Babylon

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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