I’m sure there have been multiple blog and message board posts today about the passing of Charles L. Grant. Other than a bulletin posted by Stephen Mark Rainey on MySpace, I haven’t read them. Charlie is one of those people just about everyone liked. Almost nobody will say anything bad about Charlie Grant.
I regret that I didn’t start going to conventions until after Charlie got sick and was no longer traveling. I wish I could have met him once. He was a huge influence on me. I don’t remember which of his books I read first, but it was The Pet that was a real eye-opener. That’s the book that showed me you could take an idea Stephen King had used and use it again in another way. Yeah, that sounds kind of silly now, but at the time it was a revelation to me. (I’ve always compared The Pet to King’s Christine.)
Back in the 1980s, Charlie produced a trilogy of books featuring the classic monsters — the mummy, werewolf and vampire. I love those books. No, they weren’t groundbreaking. They didn’t take the genre in new directions. They were just excellent little books with comfortably familiar villians. A year or so back I was lucky enough to find the original hardcovers of all three books, plus a signed copy of the werewolf novel.
I remember his stories from magazines like The Twilight Zone. And interviews of him. He also wrote excellent movie review for the Horror Writers Association newsletter.
During the 1980s, when everyone else was trying to do splatterpunk, in books and Jason Voorhees was slashing teenagers right and left on the big screen, Charles L. Grant kept turning out “quiet” horror stories that drew the reader in, created mood, and made you care for the characters. His Oxrun Station books are perfect examples of this. If there was one modern author I could imitate, it would be Charles Grant. His subtle style and rich storytelling were unmatched.
Charlie was sick for a long, long time. He had just returned home from a stay in the hospital that lasted … years. I don’t recall just how long he was hospitalized. I understand he had a heart attack and passed away quietly while watching a baseball game. His wife, the very gracious Kathy Ptacek, aka The Gila Queen, is doing as well as can be expected, according to Gary Braunbeck, who spoke to her earlier today.
Rest in peace, Charlie. You’re already missed.