"The Vagrant" Book Review
Written by Bryan Hall
2012, 27 pages, Fiction
Released on May 29th, 2012
Novelettes always struck as strange. Who's to say they're not long short stories or very short novellas? In any case, Bryan Hall's The Vagrant in the first novelette I've read that actually had a very clear reason to be such a peculiar literary creature. The story is the first installment in Hall's new Southern Hauntings Saga. When it comes to offering a small taste, The Vagrant provides the perfect amount of reading: it's long enough to hint at what's to come and short enough to introduce you to the main character and get you hooked on the series in half an hour.
The Vagrant introduces readers to Creighton Northgate, a mysterious man who's trying to run away from a dark, violent past he doesn't even fully understand. Creighton is on the move when he runs into a homeless man in a small town. The homeless man is not alone and Crate, who has the ability to see and hear that which others can't, decides to help him. Crate takes the man with him and slowly gets him to tell his story. The duo eventually end up in a house where past and present will collide in the worst possible way. Despite Crate's good intentions, he will learn that some things are better left alone and our past can always come to haunt us no matter how far and fast we run.
Hall's prose here matches the length of the narrative very well. The ghosts that haunt both characters are dealt with as if they were common occurrences but, instead of drawing away from it, this straightforward approach adds a touch of creepiness to the story. Also, instead of a hero, Crate is almost an anti-hero, a man who's damaged beyond repair by his personal demons. However, he's still likeable and this introduction to the saga manages to give enough to make readers want to spend more time with the character while simultaneously letting them know that the man is surrounded by more dark questions than answers.
The Vagrant is a fast-paced, enigmatic story in which spirits haunt the living. It's a great introduction to what promises to be a great series and Hall is a talented writer who's fond of exploring things that move around behind the veil of reality as well as human emotions. For a dollar and twenty minutes, you can open a door to a mysterious, creepy series.