My overall reaction to this Curran effort is mixed. I am a fan of other books of his, especially Leviathan and Sow. But these latter pieces were novellas and Mr. Curran maintained tight control over his plot. The gruesome narratives never became so extreme as to derail the storyline. Not so with Nightcrawlers, which was punctuated with repetitive and redundant presentations of gross-out passages. The result was mind-numbing, and I became bored at times. In addition, characters are introduced who really do not propel the story. There is one elderly woman who must take up a quarter of the book, but her character seems like an afterthought. Ironically, I think she was the most interesting character in the book (and one passage involving her towards the end is quite tender). The other characters are disappointingly one dimensional. In fact, I couldn’t differentiate the male law-enforcement characters as they all tended to blend together. In the final analysis, this really didn’t matter because they were all interchangeable.
While my comments suggest that I was disappointed with Nightcrawlers, there were some fabulous sections to the book. And these sections prompted me to give it a 3 star rating instead of a lower one. Nobody does claustrophobia like Tim Curran. There are times when the characters are crawling through these underground (and, of course, slimy) tunnels that had me squirming – and wanting to take a shower. The actual plot and the final revelation of what is going on were quite impressive. There was also one particular back-story/historical account at the climax which was rather gripping – and had me wishing that Mr. Curran had written that story instead. Alas, maybe it will appear in a future work.
So, overall, a rather flawed piece, not one of Tim Curran’s best. However, he kept me engaged and the payoff elevated the novel to a pretty decent read.