We’ve all heard of him. Most of us have read his work. But do you continue to read it?
I’m reading a 1989 novel from Grant called Dialing the Wind, and man am I enjoying it. This guy could write. He was an expert in character, atmosphere and suspense. And he knew that a whisper or perhaps a feather just baaarely grazing your spine could induce more chills than a hundred heads being lopped off.
I admit it. When the whole loud vs. quiet horror days were going on, I would be more apt to read Schow, Garton, Skipp and Spector or Richard Laymon. It was an exciting time. I never forsook Charles Grant or T.M. Wright, to name a few so-called quiet writers, but I wasn’t as jazzed about them as I had been just a few years before. I wanted rock and roll, midnight movie horror. And I got it.
I don’t regret it now. Those days will always be special to me. I cherish the days when I first discovered the splatterpunks.
But I also cherish the days before that when I discovered books like Charles Grant’s Nightmare Seasons. And the uniformly brilliant Shadows series of anthologies, which were edited by Grant.
I know that hard-hitting writers like Edward Lee and Wrath James White and Brian Keene are all the rage today. And that’s not a bad thing. But please don’t forget that Charles Grant has dozens of novels, collections and anthologies still floating around out there. And for the most part they don’t cost much. Grant sold a hell of a lot of books in his career and even though it seemed that the readers (me included) gradually turned their backs on his kind of stylish, suggestive horror, his influence is on everything being published in the field today. Whether the writer is aware of it or not. I don’t think it would be absurd to say that Charles Grant has had as much influence on the genre as Stephen King has. But Grant’s hand in the field was…quieter. Quieter, but with resounding impact.