Friday, 1 June 2012

Review of The Vagrant by Bryan Hall

Crate Northgate. You might not know that name now, but believe me, you'll come to know it.

Crate is the hero (or perhaps not - anti-hero might be a more appropriate description,) of Bryan Hall's new Southern Hauntings Saga, the first part of which is released by Angelic Knight Press. He is an enigma wrapped in a comfort blanket of booze and guilt, surrounded by the not-so-dearly departed as he makes his way up and down and across America at the behest of people willing to pay for his unique brand of ghostly expertise.

Is he a psychic? Perhaps so. He might equally as well be insane. Or drunk. It's all left open and the edges are blurred so that the reader has to make up their own mind. This is not a bad thing. In Hall's 'The Vagrant', we are told little of Crate's past, even less of his present, and nothing of his future. By allowing us this intriguing snippet into the life of his new creation, Hall manages to capture his audience, haul them in through Crate's truck window, slam them down into the passenger seat, and drag them along for the ride.

And it's quite a ride.

With his snappy prose and detailed descriptions, Hall brings us the old South, its characters and legends, but also invents new ones to chill us with. Just who is the ancient woman in the woods? Why was a hanged man's body found with a grin on its face and a pentagram by its feet? Who is the mysterious murdered girl, and just what can Crate Northgate possibly do to save the seemingly doomed vagrant of the title?

I think - I hope - we'll be hearing a lot more from Bryan Hall's Crate Northgate. There's so much more to learn.

Book Blurb:

Creighton Northgate is a man shrouded in mystery and on the run from a past he doesn't even fully understand.  Blurring the lines between vagabond, enigma, drunkard, and saviour, he spends his days staring into the southern legends and paranormal events that most only speak of in hushed, half-believing whispers. 
In the midst of a sweltering southern day, he attempts to help a homeless man who seems to share his curse; a man haunted by a silent figure from beyond this world who pursues his every step.  By the end of the day, Crate discovers that some things are best left alone; some truths best left in the dark.   
This novellette serves as an introduction to the Southern Hauntings Saga and its central character Crate Northgate, a man whose shadowy past is slowly catching up to him.  The first novella in the series will be released late summer 2012.   
To find out more about Crate visit 

Author Bio:
Bryan Hall is a fiction writer living in a one hundred year old farmhouse deep in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and three children.
Growing up in the Appalachias, he's soaked up decades of fact and fiction from the area, bits and pieces of which usually weave their way into his writing whether he realizes it at the time or not.
He's the author of the sci-fi horror novel Containment Room 7, collection Whispers from the Dark, and the upcoming Southern Hauntings Saga.  You can find him online at

To buy the book, go to


  1. Hey Lisamarie,

    Good quick review of The Vagrant. I'm hosting Bryan as well this week at my blog for an interview and was also fortunate enough to get a sneak peek at The Vagrant. Having done a fair amount of my growing up in the South (and being a horror writer myself), this one definitely had a familiar feel. I'm also looking forward to continuing this saga.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

    1. p.s.- By "quick review," I meant that it was for a short story. Hard not to give away too much, but you've done a good job of encapsulating it here (and honestly, Bryan packs in quite a bit in those 10,000 or so words). I liked your teaser questions. Just the right ones if one has already read the story, and just the right ones to get someone interested if they haven't.

      Anyway, possibly an unnecessary qualification of terms, but I thought it important when I realized how it might've sounded.

      Damn this electronic communication :)

      Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

    2. Hi Paul,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the review - and don't worry, no offence was taken :)