Book Review: D.A. Stern’s “Black Dawn”


Discovering ancient gyms in the literature world is like finding $5 in your pocket that you didn’t know you had. The feeling is a rush, an enlightening feature that emits from your soul making you glow with enjoyment. That feeling is so powerful because that means there lies hope and there lies new prospects, in all walks of life, out there for all of us. Coming across D.A. Stern’s novel “Black Dawn” in a second hand book store was a great find amongst the vast rows of books because of the novel’s timeless nature, something we’re all in fear of coming one day, the apocalypse.

“Black Dawn” follows multiple story lines of people, some good of heart and some not so much, when two waves hit. The first wave knocks out all electrical devices much like an E.M.P. does. The second wave sends a rush of anger into the bowels that makes people want to rape, rob, and kill. The story lines eventually connect to a finale that involves awaking an ancient, world ending entity.

Released in October of 2001 (yes, now I feel old), “Black Dawn” could have been read today or thirty years ago and still have the same affect. Why? Part of the agelessness of this book due to the author’s writing style. D.A. Stern’s style is blunt, to the point, and without mercy. Some critics might consider it dry and bland. In hindsight, Stern’s articulation of the events, jumping back and forth from story to story, would have been mass confusion if done in a more colorful, descriptive manner. Just tell me a character was shot and that convey’s the character’s death or seemingly death; this type of writing is perfect for “Black Dawn’s” as it lays down a serious tone.

Also, Demons never seem to go out of style. Though Stern never labels the undead creatures as demons, the idea that a character is killed and then resurrects to doing the bidding of an evil, soon-to-be-awakened threat spells out Demon from afar. The apocalypse happens in stages and so does the outing of each villain and hero creating a grip on your eye balls so you can’t look away from the words that tell how the events unfold.

Certainly a good read and a fast read. Quick, easy, and to the point but still giving you the edge of insanity, fear, and horror which is always refreshing especially since this novel is 13 years old. D.A. Stern wrote a couple of Blair Witch sequel novelization: “Blair Witch:: Graveyard Shift” and “Blair Witch: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr”

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