The Croning (2012) – Laird Barron

This week’s book shelf brings a bit of cosmic horror as I delve into Laird Bannon’s novel, The Croning. The story spans the decades of one man, and the horrors that are around him, and the realization that these nightmare terrors are real.

It’s unnverving, as we are introduced to geologist Don Miller, and his anthropologist wife, Michelle. The story guides us through a horrific encounter in Mexico during the 50s, a terrfying event in the 80s, and a culmination of terror in the present day, as cults, an intergalactic horror, and family are drawn into events that have long affected, and haunted humankind.

But Don has problems with his memories, and his wife is secretive about her work, and her annual getaways. Don can’t seem to remember the horrific things that happened to him, just a sense of uneasiness and an enduring fear of the dark.

Michelle works on hier projects, not sharing all of her secrets with Don, and their daughter may be pulled into it.

About halfway through the book, there is a bit of a reveal, the informational narrative to keep you hooked. Until that point there was a sense of unease running through the book, but once those events occur, I was a little more hooked by it.


It’s a creepy novel, filled with a sense of dread, and troubling moments, with overtones of Lovecraft in its cosmic horror and the invading terror, but I wasn’t as spooked and taken with the story as I had hoped I would be.

It’s a solidly written tale, but didn’t get under my skin as much as I thought it would.

I do like how things start to click for Don in the second half of the book as we are taken through the events that happened in the 80s and the present time. There are moments of clarity as things are tied together, and you realize how monstrous the threat is, but it didn’t freak me out much.

Perhaps this evening as I lay in the dark of my bed, and ponder the tale surrounded by the night, it may weigh on me, frighten me more. That being said, I did enjoy the tale, especially when things are revealed, and we see how some of the pieces fit together.

And that ending really twists the knife in there with its galactic terror.

The Croning is a solid, if not entirely frightening read, that I think will stay with me for awhile.

Have you read it? Or perhaps you can recommend a novel that freaked you out?


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