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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Glimmers in the Ravine by Stanton Polk is a fine example of cosmic terror that will push you into a nightmarish scenario, make you question reality, and challenge your sanity. Archaeology student Jules Romero is in need of a job to sustain his school tuition and joins a crew of freelance surveyors for a mining corporation. Romero is highly suitable for the job, as he knows more about historical territories and geographical details than most of the members of the team. They discover a mysterious ancient city beneath the mountain, and as they continue to venture deeper underground, a horrifying malady begins to afflict them. It is not only an ancient city that they will discover, but an ancient creature that is older than anything, and the odds of humanity winning over it are completely hopeless.
Glimmers in the Ravine has a strong Lovecraftian feel to it, and I love it. Stanton Polk doesn’t rely on cheap scares. He focuses on the unknown and takes the opportunity to bring out people’s fear of things that they don’t understand. His writing has the pristine tone that you will also find in the works of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, with an attention to sensory details that make you feel as if you’re part of the surveying crew and that sooner or later, you will also succumb to insanity. The effectiveness of Polk’s story is that it effectively conjures up an atmosphere of dread. The dilemma of his characters losing their sanity plays a large role, as it establishes a strong psychological aspect in the plot that is rarely present in many horror stories. The behavioral descriptions of dread create a credible atmosphere of descent into madness. This is a powerful story in the horror genre, and I highly recommend it. It not only scares you, but it also makes you think and gives you the unsettling sensation that some things are inescapable.