Buffalo author/filmmaker Gregory Lamberson has published his 12th novel that deals with two memorable issues from his childhood. Black Creek is a fictional horror story that is loosely based on a couple of real life incidents that deeply influenced the novelist as a young man.
In his new book, the residents of Black Creek (formerly Love Canal) must deal with a couple of natural and supernatural issues. While coping with blizzard conditions (reminiscent of The Blizzard of ’77), Black Creek residents learn that the blinding/piling snow is the least of their worries. They soon realize that the land is home to terrifying creatures that “moved in” when the 800 Love Canal families moved out in the 70s.
“I wanted to tell a contemporary cautionary horror story that utilized Love Canal as a backdrop and drew from my childhood memories of the Blizzard of ’77,” says Lamberson. “But I also wanted to tell a story about the people of Western New York. We’re all survivors, in one way or another. We prove that every winter. The characters in this book are good people and good neighbors who find themselves caught up in an extraordinary predicament that is both environmental and manmade. It’s an extreme scenario, and a lot of them don’t make it out alive, but the ones who do pull together and help each other. That’s the Western New York I know.”
In another bizarre twist, it turns out the book’s underground mutant cannibals are actually people who refused to move away from Love Canal after the Carter administration branded the town “the worst manmade environmental disaster in the nation’s history.” Combined with three separate snowstorms that converge on Niagara Falls, the new Black Creek residents certainly have their hands full.
Lamberson points out that not only does the Love Canal tragedy still echo in our collective minds, just recently Wheatfield and North Tonawanda have been dealing with their own haunting memories as recent investigative reports show that hazardous waste removed from Love Canal was not properly disposed of and continues to plague nearby towns to this day.
“When I learned that Love Canal had been renamed Black Creek in an effort to rehabilitate its image, the first though that came to my mind was, ‘This is a horror story,’ says Lamberson, who spent one year researching the disaster and the Blizzard of ’77. “Science fiction and horror authors often utilize real life fears as a springboard for fantastic stories. They tap into our anxieties and give us a way to beat them back. It’s unfortunate – tragic, really – that the real life saga of Love Canal continues.”
Don’t be surprised if/when Lamberson transitions this novel into film. It’s got all the ingredients for the silver screen. In the meantime, look for Black Creek in bookstores near you in coming weeks, or find it online.