Authors: Jeff Strand, F. Paul Wilson, Jack Kilborn, and Blake Crouch
Publisher: Joe Konrath
Kindle Edition: Free Normally $2.99
Reviewed by: Cheryl Anne Gardner
Description: Mortimer Moorecook, retired Wall Street raider, avid collector, is losing his fight against cancer. With weeks to live, a package arrives at the door of his hillside mansion—an artifact he paid millions for…a hominoid skull with elongated teeth, discovered in a farmer’s field in the Romanian countryside. With Shanna, his beautiful research assistant looking on, he sinks the skull’s razor sharp fangs into his neck, and immediately goes into convulsions.
Let me preface this review by saying, it's not really a novel. It's more of a B Horror novella. Fifty percent of the book is author interviews and advertising excerpts, so if you are looking for a well-developed Bram Stoker type literary monster novel, you won't find it here. I was looking for a light monster read, something fast, something not overly deep, and I wanted monsters: disgusting blood-sucking meat-chewing monsters. I got it.
If you are looking for a back to basics hack and slash where the vampires are really monsters a la Thirty Days of Night and a plot line along the lines of Romero's Night of The Living Dead, or AMC's The Walking Dead or 28 Days Later, you might enjoy it. Like I said, this is a short book, so while we have two failed romantic relationships playing center stage between our "heroes," the word count and the monster story force the interpersonal relationships into the background where they are used primarily as reprieve from all the violence and gore. And there is a lot of violence and a lot of gore. There are no grand social statement here like you find in Walking Dead or 28 Days Later. This is an old school slash fest, and it isn't made to be taken too seriously. All the characters were pretty much standard fare: the troubled macho men Rambo styled heroes, the guilt ridden damsels in distress, and the Dr. Evil old man who wants to take over the world. Cliché, yes, but still fun. I thought the brief historical tie-in was plausible, and the bleak ending was refreshing. I was surprised no one said "Nuke the site from Orbit," we got that close to Aliens at a few points.
Out of all the characters, I think I enjoyed Benny the Clown the most. He'd got the short end of the shit stick from the moment he was introduced, and you just couldn't help but cheer those squeaky shoes on.
So, if you are looking for a literary work, don't bother. If you are looking for sparkly romantic vampires, again, don't bother, and if you are looking for subtle and skin tingling creepy like Salem's Lot, again, don't bother. But if you want a fast paced B-horror movie slash fest type of read, you will love it. I certainly did. There were enough stringy intestines slapping the walls to satisfy the gore lovers.