Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Guest Blogger: Alex Lugo reviews "Thought Forms" by Jeffrey Thomas

Going forward, The Cosmicomicon will feature up to four guest bloggers per month, to add some variety of content, a touch of the multimedia, as well as some slightly different viewpoints of similarly dark corners. 

Leading us off is book reviewer Alex Lugo, who serves as our debut guest blogger, giving us his thoughts on Jeffrey Thomas' latest novel Thought Forms, published by Dark Regions Press, a fantastic publisher of horror, fantasy and sci-fi that boasts a roster shot through by a number of familiar and fantastic names.

So now, without further ado, I turn the page over to Alex....

Thought Forms by Jeffrey Thomas
Review by Alex Lugo

I think it’s safe to say that most readers of horror read horror to be horrified.  Sadly, most horror literature these days just doesn't have it. The horror, that is.  

Thought Forms is not one of those books. I can rightfully say that alongside Laird Barron's Mysterium Tremendum, Thought Forms by Jeffrey Thomas is the scariest piece of literature I have ever read in fourteen years. There are no clichés, no stupid moves by the main characters, and absolutely no predictability. Although Jeffrey Thomas is most famous for his Dark Science Fiction tales set in the universe of Punktown, this novel is an utterly supernatural tale set in eldritch Massachusetts. It is a story of two cousins, Ray and Paul. Both of these men have seemingly different problems, but creatively entwine once the stunning conclusion is revealed. 

At the very beginning of the story, we learn that Ray’s mother and father were butchered by some unknown force when he was very young. A little over twenty years later, Ray moves into the same house where he experienced the bloody slaying of his parents. Sounds kind of silly, but as you eventually learn, all of Ray’s memories of his parents are mainly comprised of drunkenness and abuse, hence he doesn’t feel that much discomfort living in the house where he parents were murdered, since he had no real emotional attachment to them. Instead, he considers his his Aunt and Uncle and his cousin Paul as his true family. Ray spends much of his time in the house drawing, taking care of a dog named Kelly, and firing his arsenal of guns in the surrounding woodlands. He works at a leather goods factory, and, for the first time in his life, begins to develop a romantic interest in a woman named Heidi. 

Everything seems to be going exceedingly well until one night, Ray and the dog notice a dark silhouette of some strange figure standing in his driveway, scrutinizing them with piercing, midnight eyes. And this is just the beginning...  As the days - and nights - pass, the visits from strange, shrouded  figures grow more common, brazen, and bizarre, while his affections for Heidi grow stronger. What originally seemed to be just some lost soul in his driveway morphs into something darker and more sinister, something that seems to be returning to continue a tradition of bloodshed that started over twenty years ago.  But what are they, these dark, silent figures?  What do they want, and why?

At the same time, Ray’s cousin Paul is going through an equally, if not stranger experience. Paul is an artistic individual, much like Ray, but delves into the more elaborate and fantastic with his work, unlike the realistic artwork of Ray. Paul is a self-proclaimed witch - not some attention-seeking, Goth buffoon, but a true worshiper of nature’s beauty and wonder. He works nights at a plastic factory, where he heads up an all-female team of workers.  The day goes by in a seemingly ordinary fashion, until word is spread that a worker saw the infamous factory phantom - a young, blond haired boy seen multiple times by a plethora of workers, including Paul himself, who just earlier in the day could have sworn he saw a similar blond child in the cafeteria. The strangeness builds when a sudden hush settles over the factory.  All is dead silence, save for the distant chatter of the radio on the factory intercom. After a brief inspection, Paul and his team discover that the factory is suddenly deserted, absent of all human life. Ideas spread like wildfire, but after a factory worker is found cowering under a multitude of boxes, near catatonic with fright, Paul knows something is utterly wrong. With every tense moment, Paul learns the terrible truth that some dark, horrid creature is stirring in the factory, a beast as monstrous and bizarre as one of his outlandish paintings.  A beast that is now hunting all those trapped inside the factory until morning. 

As both stories unfold, each cousin must face their own version of ultimate horror, as they come to grips with a mysterious, terrifying enemy devoted solely to their demise.

Thought Forms is many things: tense, horrifying, relentless, violent, magical, masterful, and absolutely wonderful. It is a novel best read under the veil of night. It is a tome so diabolical, I couldn’t read it alone, shamefully. Most importantly, in a time when most of the so-called horror books housed in your local book store fall short, Thought Forms is scary in a way that defines the term.  

Without giving much away, it will make you afraid to think what you think you might be thinking.  

by Alex Lugo


  1. I'm thoroughly flattered and delighted by this review.

  2. Excellent review. Good on ya' Mr. Grau for giving the young and intelligent genre reading obsessed purveyor of weird and horror fiction (that'd be Mr. Lugo) a place to put his words.

  3. Thanks, Dark St. Nick.

    I'm honored that Mr. Lugo lobbed his review skyward toward The Cosmicomicon. We're all the better for it.