Maggie, who has recently changed her major (again!) to Archeology, announces to her long time friends Russell and Henry that she has a plan for their last summer together before graduation from college. She wants to excavate the outhouse of the abandoned Prewitt mansion, an abandoned estate outside their small hometown in upstate New York. She is hoping for a chance to apply practically some of what she learned the previous year and, of course, she needs the help of her friends to act on her plan. Because this is a strictly off the records dig, all of the work will need to be done at night (otherwise, people will know that something is being done and shut it down before they get started). So, each night, Maggie, Russell and Henry drive out of town, under the cover of darkness, see what “treasures” may be found in the “night soil” (waste old enough to have become dirt). The three decide that if they find anything of value that they will split the value evenly between them and begin, under the cover of darkness, to dig. There was no way for them to be prepared for what they find, the story it uncovered, or the evil that was unleashed as a result.
In The Twilight Pariah, author Jeffrey Ford tells a classic Horror story with a dash of wit and a great deal of imagination and tone. The story gets progressively creepier as it progresses and there are some admirable twists and turns, making it seem both familiar and unexpected.
The only complaint to be found with The Twilight Pariah is that, being a novella, the story told goes by all too quickly and the reader may find themselves wanting more when the last page is turned (which is an admirable situation for any reader to find themselves). This story has so many opportunities where the existing tale could be expanded and/or histories explored that it really is a shame that Ford didn’t make The Twilight Pariah a full blown novel!