The international critics are calling John Darnielle the master of thrill, mystery, and suspense, and they're constantly praising his unique writing, fast-paced narrative and multi-layered, rich characters. As far as the brightest pillars of modern-day literature go, this man is right there on top of the mountain. Universal Harvester is a 100% page-turner that you won't be able to put down.
It's menacing and sensitive, almost intimate in a way, and that makes this novel a standout cut. Welcome to the late 90s, ladies, and gentlemen! Jeremy, the main character of this story, works at the Video Hut in a tiny American town. Yes, the video cassettes are slowly, but steadily dying out, but the guy still has a loyal "fanbase" that keeps coming back and taking VHS cassettes home.
True, the money isn't fantastic or anything like that, but the gig is more than satisfying for Jeremy: the job is paying the bills, there's no hassle and he gets to be alone with himself. He's living in an empty house with his dad, and they both can't get over their mom's passing six years ago in a traffic accident. But soon his routine, boring life turns into a nightmare.
First, a schoolteacher returns her copy of an old movie, claiming that there's something else recorded on it. Next, a different person with a new movie complains that there's a weird film on the tape. So, Jeremy takes the movie with him to check it out at home. And right in the middle of the recording, it all stops and a poorly-made home video comes up. It's full of violence, brutality, and disgusting stuff, and the trail leads Jeremy to all kinds of dark places that you can't come back from...Universal Harvester is a blood-chilling blockbuster, a sinister, unnerving "joy ride" for the fans of the genre.