For those of you who are counting, yes, this is C. Robert Cargill's third very successful career. He was a film critic (he wrote for Ain't It Cool News, Film.com and Hollywood.com for more than a decade). He gave up that gig to become a screenwriter (he co-wrote the recent horror flick Sinister with director Scott Derrickson). And now he's a novelist. True, it's all writing, but believe us, each requires very different muscles, and very few people have the skill to do all three much less to do all three very, very well, which is what Cargill has done.
His debut novel, the just released Dreams and Shadows, is justifiably getting rave reviews. It's the story of two men, Ewan and Colby. They seem to be normal — well, normal-ish — but Ewan and Colby spent their childhoods in the Limestone Kingdom, a magical place filled with genies, fairies and monsters. Don't be fooled. These genies don't live in bottles (at least not if they can help it), and while the one that Colby meets does grant him some wishes, he also sets him on a ruinous life path. These fairies are bloodthirsty. And the monsters, well, let's just say they love brutality. Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom, but they couldn't leave behind the ramifications of their time there.
Dark and filled with emotional sucker punches, Dreams and Shadows is enthralling. Cargill has created a wholly original universe and filled it with mesmerizing, if also menacing, creatures. Austin-based Cargill discusses and signs his novel today at Murder by the Book.
Sat., March 2, 4:30 p.m., 2013