The Vacant Ones is an occult horror written by Stephanie Berezowski. Emily was having a difficult time coping with the loss of her sister, and she wasn’t the only one. Her mother, Sue, having already suffered the loss of her first born, now retreated to alcohol and starvation at the loss of her youngest. John, Emily’s father and Sue’s ex-husband, had returned too the old family house, hoping to ease Emily’s burden, and it didn’t hurt that he had made a business from making people safe. Something people would pay heavily for these days. With each full moon came terror, brutal murders, and horror. It was said these things, these werewolves, had always been in the area. But something had changed, now, instead of picking off those straying after dark, they were bringing the hunt to the town. An ancient tale holds a few answers but even ancient wisdom is flawed when the force itself has evolved. The closest assessment of our time was it was a virus, but those more connected to the world knew it as something else, Lunaticus, a spirit that eats away at the spirit and humanity to expose the evil within for the three days of a full moon and become, what they refer to as, The Vacant Ones, and the most dangerous are those known as Black Coats, for they retain their intellect. It is said everything finds a balance, but sometimes first the balance must first tip askew.
Witten in the first person from Emily’s perspective gives the reader a real feel for the suffering, distress, and even happiness that she feels. When I first saw the word werewolves I’ll admit I was a little deterred, imagining the more modern portrayal which has driven monster to misunderstood ally and the genre into stagnation. How refreshing it was to once more see dark creatures and evil intentions prowl the land, in the form of Black Coats, hunting and bringing terror to all, their actions reflecting their predatory nature. Dark and gritty, with stomach turning action and a sense of the fear this certainly makes for a page turning read. Stephanie Berezowski succeeds in once again restoring the terror, as well as finding a balance, to a stagnating species. Well written and atmospheric, a must for fans of horror, and supernatural.