Review of Patrick James Ryan’s “The Night It Got Out”
The Night It Got Out is the first full length tale from author Patrick James Ryan, who previously wrote Blood Verse, a compendium of horror influenced short stories and poems. He dives into the equivalent of the classic B-Grade monster movie here with zeal, telling parallel accounts of a virtually unstoppable creature whose only purpose is to kill anyone and everyone who stands in its way.
Don Girard is the police chief of Magnus Pass, the town where a cargo truck carrying the imprisoned beast crashes, freeing it to go on a rampage of blood, guts, and utter chaos. Once the beast is freed, the government rushes in, with retired Green Beret Colonel Elliot Harmon leading the charge to kill or capture the beast.
Through flashback, we learn of Harmon’s unique relationship with the beast and the covert operations that created this genetically mutated killing machine. Though the police chief and Green Beret combine forces in an effort to stop the monster, it’s clear that neither trusts the other, and the motivations of each might be at crossed purposes.
This book moves quickly, shifting from one killing field to the next. From the cover of the book, the beast looks almost like a werewolf or something similar, but the way it’s described makes it more of an amalgam of various predators, including man, with razor sharp claws and teeth, plus incredible strength and speed. It is intelligent, cunning, and hunts humans out of hatred as well as a food source. Though there may have been some possibility of sympathy for this beast that has been manipulated and imprisoned by men its entire life, it was hard for me, as a reader, to see past its desire for unlimited slaughter to perhaps try and understand what it has been forced to become.
Since things move at such a rapid pace with this fairly short book, the reader’s relationships with both Girard and Harmon are rather clipped and terse, much like the relationship these two men share with one another. The bulk of the other characters and what we get to know about them serve only to migrate us from one scene of blood drenched death to another, just like classic monster movies do. We are given very brief glimpses into the lives of the creature’s victims, typically just before they are gone in a blink of an eye; eviscerated, decapitated, and devoured.
Of course, with the government involved, there is a subplot of secret government experiments and diabolical plots revolving the use of such an ultimate killing machine, but it is heavily overshadowed by the gore splattered action that crosses almost every page.
Overall, this is a fun, over the top gore fest. Readers looking for more subtle horror would probably be more inclined to read the author’s other book. Because The Night It Got Out splashes you in the face with buckets of blood, meat, and bones from start to finish.
The author continues to hone his craft with his second book and has done a bang up job with vivid descriptions with this story. I did, however, find it hard to make an emotional investment in either main character, Girard or Harmon. Perhaps it was the quick pace of the story and the limited time to get to know either of them, but I wasn’t drawn to either and found it hard to care what fate had in store for them. With that said, that isn’t a major stumbling block with this type of fast paced, vicious horror tale. Instead, just prepare to strap in and ride this gnarly carnage coaster until the end.
The Night It Got Out can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Got-Patrick-James-Ryan/dp/0692329781/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1434824559